Posts filed under ‘S-Tel’
The Indian telecom story is gaining muscle. The latest to join the world’s second largest telecom market is Bahrain’s Batelco which has signed a deal to buy 49% in Chennai-based S-Tel, a GSM service provider, for $225 million.
The Indian telecom company has licences to operate in six circles in Bihar, Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, North East and Assam.
Santosh Robert, director, S-Tel, said the deal would enable his company to partner with an experienced operator for the GSM roll-out which is slated for the middle of this year.
Batelco has partnered with Millennium Private Equity (MPE), a Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)-regulated entity to form Batelco Millennium India Company Ltd (BMICL) a special purpose vehicle to purchase the shares in S Tel. The transaction would go in for formal approvals and it is expected to become operational upon receiving regulatory approval by the end of April this year.
S-Tel was established to gain entry into the rapidly growing mobile markets of north east and north-west India. The population in these areas is approximately 230 million and mobile penetration rate is less than 20%. “We will focus on delivering innovation and value, and aspires to grow rapidly to respond to the needs of these largely untapped areas,” Robert said.
Besides, Batelco being a mid-sized operator has a medium appetite for investment found S-Tel very attractive. “They were clear that they did not want to invest in a pan-India operator, instead were looking at a smaller company to invest, which is where we fit in very well,” Robert said.
S-Tel is a Chennai-based company promoted by Skycity Foundations (P) Ltd and Telecom Investments, Mauritius. The company received unified access services licenses (UASL) and start-up spectrum in six category C circles, besides a category A all India internet service provider (ISP) licence.
Other major telecom deals include NTT DoCoMo’s 26% stake buy in Tata Tele for $2.70 billion, Etilasat’s 45% equity purchase in Swan Telecom for $900 million and Telenor’s buy of 60% in Unitech Wireless for $1.23 billion.