Swan Telecom, a joint venture between Etisalat and DB Realtyhas announced it has been renamed Etisalat DB Telecom India Pvt Ltd. The company is headquartered in Mumbai, and has the license to operate in 15 circles: Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West), Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Licenses for two of these circles were acquired by virtue of it’s acquisition of Allianz Infratech.
BSNL appears to be rather keen on Etisalat DB: Business Standard reports of a partnership with BSNL for sharing infrastructure, which will allow Swan to use BSNL’s towers and pipes at a mutually agreed revenue model. This is thefirst agreement of its kind in the country and various reports that Swan is being unjustly favoured are gaining steam. There’s history between the two: In December last year, the Hindu had reported that the Prime Ministers Office was looking into “undue favors” at Swan Telecom, particularly a roaming arrangement with BSNL. It certainly looks as if Swan’s rollout is being cushioned by BSNL. Does this herald the beginning of the telco’s roll outs?
When Will The Roll Out Begin?
The company does not have a website nor an officially announced roll-out date. In January, the company had said it would roll out between April and June, but has not launched yet. It has to meet the roll-out obligations for telcos – and cover 10% of the total coverage of district headquarters within the first year and 50% by the third.
Compare it to other new telcos which were established at around the same time – Loop Telecom (previously BPL) has 2,073,184 subscribers, has rolled out its network and is soft-launching in Tamil Nadu and Orissa soon. Shyam Sistema, now MTS, has rolled out commercially in Rajasthan and Chennai. Telenor-backed Unitech Wireless will launch in a limited number of circles in the second half of this year. Only S-Tel has not announced any plans. What gives?
(With inputs from Nikhil Pahwa)
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