S-Tel asked to stop mobile services in Himachal

Himachal mobile operator S-Tel, a joint venture between the Chennai-based Siva Group and Bahrain Telecom (Batelco), has been asked by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to immediately stop its mobile services in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa, owing to security concerns. The company with a subscriber base of over 8.00.00 is operating in Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand.

As per media reports a company spokesperson confirmed receiving a letter to stop voice and SMS services. “Yes, we received the letter a few hours ago. We are surprised that after giving us the permission through letters dated December 11, 2009, and December 21, 2009, we should receive this letter today. The letter mentions national security concerns, without any details or specifics, and we are trying to ascertain the same for any supportive action from our side. As far as we know, we have followed the process and have obtained all necessary approvals and permissions,” the statement for the company said.

S Tel had challenged the government’s spectrum allocation policy in 2008, arguing it had been unfairly denied licences in various circles. It won this case in the High Court of Delhi, and then again when the government appealed to a bigger bench. The case is now pending at the Supreme Court.

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