Russian telecom operator Sistema, has expectedly announced that they intend to increase their stake in Shyam Telelink, which operates the CDMA mobile service Rainbow. ET reports that Shyam-Sistema has become the first of the new telecom operators to get pan-India spectrum for operating mobile services. Sistema currently owns 51 percent in Shyam Telelink, and as per the FDI norms in India, they can own a maximum of 74 percent stake.

Sistema had acquired 10 percent stake in Shyam Telelink for $11.4 million on Septembe 26th 2007. They then increased their holding to 51 percent, for $46.7 million, taking the total amount to $58.1 million (around Rs. 255 crores). ET adds that Sistema has invested around $500 million in India so far, which includes the Rs. 1650 crore ($375 million) fee for the pan-India license.

So far, Shyam Telelink has had a rather poor run of it – In June, they added only 1,378 mobile subscribers, which July was only relatively better with an addition of 5688 subscribers. Their mobile subscriber base is 115,462…which is a fraction of what most other operators add in a month. Obviously, Sistema hasn’t bought a stake in Shyam for its massive subscriber base. Sistema is a Russian conglomerate with businesses across telecom, technology, insurance, banking, real estate, retail and media, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange, Moscow Stock Exchange and the Russian Trading System

Note: Both PTI and ET have mistaken Shyam Telelink for BSE listed Shyam Telecom, which owns Oasis Cellular, a GSM mobile service in Rajasthan.

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