Shyam Telecom has bagged a GSM mobile service operator licence in the UK. A group subsidiary, Shyam Telecom UK Ltd, has been awarded a wireless telegraphy licence by OFCOM, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.
With this licence, Shyam Telecom would be able to operate full-fledged GSM services in the British Isles, including Ireland, company sources said.
The company runs a CDMA-based network in Rajasthan. It had sold its GSM network in the state to Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd for Rs 430 crore (Rs 4.30 billion) in April 2004.
This is among the first such full-fledged mobile phone licences awarded to an Indian company in the West.
Currently, a joint venture between public sector Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd and Telecommunications Consultants of India Ltd runs a mobile operation in Nepal, while Bharti runs a mobile network in Seychelles and has won a licence for Jersey, an island in the English Channel, northwest of France.
Reliance Infocomm has a long distance carrier licence in the US. Along with Reliance Infocomm, Tata Teleservices and Bharti own and operate submarine cable networks.
Shyam Telecom Group Chairman Rajiv Mehrotra said the company might consider offloading a partial stake to a UK partner.
"We have already received a number of offers and are in discussion with several leading global telecom players for cooperation. We will soon start work on the network," he added.
Shyam Telecom paid around Rs 1 crore (Rs billion) for the licence, which was for an initial term of 10 years and extendible at the discretion of OFCOM.
Mehrotra added that the service would be a true fixed mobile convergent solution, since the company would offer GSM mobility at tariffs similar to fixed line tariffs inside buildings and campuses. The licence is for 6.6 MHz of spectrum, which will be operated on low power.