SSTL will participate in the spectrum auctions starting 11 March 2013.
The decision follows the 15 February Supreme Court order directing telecom firms that do not have spectrum and had not participated in November spectrum auctions to cease operating in the country (See: Telecom firms with cancelled licences must end operations: SC).
A joint venture between Russia's Sistema and India's Shyam Group, SSTL was among the operators affected by the Supreme Court's cancellation in February 2012 of all 122 licences granted after January 2008 for operating 2G mobile services in India, saying they were granted in an arbitrary and unconstitutional manner (See: SC cancels all 2G licences, orders fresh spectrum auction).
SSTL's decision to participate in the March auction comes at a time when the company is drawing up a new blue print for growth, making it future-ready. The government of India has confirmed that SSTL would be able to set off previous licence costs against the new auction prices, the company said.
''I would like to confirm our intention to participate in the upcoming spectrum auctions in March 2013. We are in the process of drawing an optimal strategy for the auctions based on several factors including spectrum pricing, levels of competition, etc.
The intent is to now look at life beyond all the uncertainties and build an even stronger MTS brand in India. The go forward plan includes continuing with the company's focus on its data centric-voice enabled strategy in select circles,'' SSTL president and chief executive officer Vsevolod Rozanov said in the statement.