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MTS Launches Dongles On EV-DO Network; LTE Under Testing

mtsSistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) which operates in India as MTS India has commercial roll out of its ‘3G-Plus’ Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) Rev B Phase II network that offers download speeds of up to 9.8 Mbps. The company launched a next generation MBlaze Ultra dongle that will be available in all nine circles it operates in.

MBlaze Ultra has been priced at Rs 1299 for both prepaid and postpaid customers. It is being sold to new prepaid customers for Rs 1399 with 10 GB data bundled with it. Existing postpaid MBlaze customers can get the dongle by paying just Rs 750 with complete cash back. MTS also plans to launch smartphones that will be able to run on this network. EV-DO is the fastest 3G standard available for CDMA devices. MTS had earlier mentioned that they will be rolling out LTE services in India and is currently testing it out.

Sistema saw a significant 26% decline in in its data card subscribers in the last quarter – registering 1.16 million subscribers for the quarter ending June 30, 2013. The company attributed this decline to the reduction in the number of its operational circles. Sistema had shut down its operations in 10 telecom circles in February 2013 and shut down its operations in additional three circles in the following month. SSTL noted that this was the first quarter after the transition to nine operational circles. In April , it had informed in its investor presentation that it hopes to break even in India by the end of 2014 or the first half of 2015. Now the company says that the contribution of non-voice revenue will increase 50-55 percent by next year.

Sistema become the first telco to receive unified licenses for eight circles earlier this month. Unified licenses allow telcos to offer any form of communication (telephone, Internet, broadband and others) through a single license and also delinks spectrum from future licenses. It was introduced as part of the new telecom policy that was launched in June 2012 and is valid for 20 years from the effective date of the license.

Sistema currently operates in nine telecom circles in India, which includes the eight circles where it secured spectrum in the March 2013 auctions and Rajasthan circle which was not affected by the Supreme Court ruling. Through these nine circles, the company hopes to reach out to 60% of the total data potential in the country and 40% of the country’s population.

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