New Delhi: UAE-based Etisalat has decided to shut down its India operations -- Etisalat DB that has over 16.7 lakh mobile subscribers -- following the Supreme Court order which cancelled 122 telecom licences in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
Etisalat, which holds the majority stake Etisalat DB, is the second foreign telecom company to exit India after Baharain Telecom which offloaded its 42.7 per cent stake in S Tel.
In an e-mailed statement Etisalat said, "As unanimously resolved by the Board this evening, Etisalat DB will be taking steps to reduce operating costs, including the suspension of its network and services, pursuant to the terms of its UAS licenses."
Etisalat's 16.7-lakh strong subscriber base is spread across 15 circles, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mumbai and Punjab.
"The decision has been taken in order to protect the interests of all stakeholders and to avoid incurring further costs at this time of rapid change and continued uncertainty in the Indian telecommunications sector," Etisalat said.
Further information, including the official cessation date will be communicated shortly to customers through the appropriate channels, the statement added.
On February 9, Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) had written off about USD 820 million worth value of its Indian operations by way of an impairment charge as an after effect of Supreme Court order.
The apex court on February 2 ordered cancellation of 122 licences issued by the then telecom minister A Raja in 2008 on first-come-first-serve basis. It asked the government to issue fresh licenses through auction.
Trouble for Etisalat customers started on January 20, almost two week before the SC judgement, when its network was disconnected by Reliance Communications subsidiary Reliance Telecom Infrastructure for non-payment of dues and the company did not make efforts to restart its network.

Etisalat owns about 45 per cent stake in Etisalat DB, a joint venture between Indian player DB Group and Etisalat of UAE.
DB Group however did not offer any immediate comments.
Etisalat said the Supreme Court's decision had removed EDB's ability to operate from June 2, 2012.
"Etisalat believes that this is a sensible and wholly appropriate action under the circumstances," it said.
On participating in the proposed auction, it said "Etisalat will make a decision on its future participation in the Indian market when there is clarity on the auction process and telecommunications policy and greater legal and regulatory certainty and stability," the statement said.
The factors behind the Supreme Court judgment are based on actions that took place long before Etisalat entered the Indian market and considered investing in Swan Telecom, it added.
The company had previously stated that its "management has decided to recognize an impairment charge in its 2011 consolidated financial statements amounting to an aggregate of AED 3,044 million (about USD 820 million)."
Yesterday, S Tel (a joint venture between Bahrain Telecom and Chennai-based Siva Group) said it is helping its subscribers move to other operators, an indication that it may be shutting shop.
Norwegian investor Telenor has however said it will continue its operations in the country, but with a different partner.