Swan Telecom to roll out mobile services by second quarter

January 18th, 2009 - 2:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) Swan Telecom, a part of the diversified Mumbai-based Dynamix Balwas Group, says it will end all controversies surrounding it by rolling out second generation (2G) GSM mobile phone services anytime between April and June.”We received spectrum for 13 circles from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and we will roll out our services between April and June,” Dynamix Balwas marketing vice president Ruth Varsulkar told IANS.

Swan Telecom kicked off a row after it received space in the 2G spectrum, as it did not have a single subscriber or any experience in the telecom sector. The 13 circles include prime zones such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Mumbai.

The controversy spiralled after the company went on to sell a 45-percent stake to the UAE-based Etisalat for $900 million, taking the company’s book value to $2 billion - even before it had launched its services.

Communications Minister A. Raja was charged with flouting the regulator’s norms in allocating of 2G spectrum on preferential treatment to Swan and another new entrant, Unitech Wireless.

The now-estranged government ally, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, questioned the government’s “first-come first-served” principle and the resultant alleged loss of Rs.60,000 crore (Rs.600 billion/$13.2 billion) to the exchequer.

The minister has since claimed that the allocation of spectrum was purely based on the regulator’s policies and clarified that both Swan and Unitech had merely diluted their stake and that it wasn’t an outright sale.

Swan Telecom said all controversies will be eventually put to rest. “We are serious, long-term players. Everyone will get the answer once we are in the field. We will prove ourselves once we launch our product,” said Varsulkar.

She also said the company would most likely share infrastructure to save on operating costs.

Another company official, requesting anonymity, said the entire controversy was the handiwork of a cartel operating against new players. “Everybody here is insecure, and it takes little to shake them.”

Swan Telecom’s holding company, Dynamix Balwas, has several business verticals - realty, hospitality, dairy and more recently, telecom.

The group also owns the property that Le Royal Meridien hotel operates near Mumbai’s international airport. Dynamix is an equal partnership between Mumbai businessmen Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka.

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