Sistema India phone unit shutting ops in 10 zones

NEW DELHI Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:01am EST

NEW DELHI Feb 21 (Reuters) - Russian conglomerate Sistema's Indian mobile phone unit said on Thursday it will shut services in 10 telecommunications zones, but is preparing to bid in the airwave auctions due next month.

All but one of 22 zonal permits held by Sistema Shyam TeleServices were ordered to be revoked by India's Supreme Court last year. The company is required to win back airwaves in those zones to continue services.

Sistema Shyam did not specify the number zones it would bid for.

"...the uncertainties resulting from such cancellation has compelled the company to conserve its resources," it said in a statement, adding it is beginning to inform customers in 10 zones to shift to other carriers.

Less than 15 percent of its more than 14 million customers are from the 10 zones, it said.

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