Etisalat withdraws from Indian telecoms market

Following the Supreme Court decision which cancelled Etisalat DB’s 15 spectrum licences, Etisalat is closing operations in its Indian joint venture.

Etisalat is the latest company to have its Indian operations overturned by the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn the award of 122 spectrum licences.

The carrier has announced that it will suspend its network and services in India “to avoid incurring further costs at this time of rapid change and continued uncertainty in the Indian telecommunications sector”.

Earlier this month, Etisalat wrote down the value of its stake in Etisalat DB by $827 million.

In 2008, Etisalat acquired a 45% stake in Swan Telecom for $900 million. This investment, it argues, “took place long after the 2G licences were awarded”. Since that time, Etisalat has invested over $1 billion in the company, now known as Etisalat DB.

Etisalat registered its dissatisfaction with the court’s judgment when it was first announced, stating: “The Supreme Court’s decision took the entire industry by surprise and significantly alters the competitive landscape in India’s telecommunications market.” It also stated that it expected the Indian government to fairly compensate investors for the loss of its 15 licences.

Etisalat claimed that it has made its latest decision to withdraw from the market in order to protect the interests of stakeholders.

Earlier this week, S TEL also announced that it was withdrawing from the Indian market, and Telenor broke off its partnership with Unitech in order to secure another alliance in India.

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