Telecom body asks TRAI to remove uncertainty in sector

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Feb 27, 2012

New Delhi: Following the Supreme Court’s order quashing 122 telecom licences, global telecom body GSMA has asked sectoral regulator TRAI to outline quickly the future course of action to bring in transparency and certainty to investments made in the sector.

In a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), GSM Association (GSMA) said, “it is important to now move quickly to outline the process that will provide a rapid resolution to this situation.”

Key to this will be to ensure that the new process guarantees the principles of fairness, transparency and certainty to all who have been investing in India in good faith,” GSMA said in the letter.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court cancelled 122 licences allocated by the then Telecom Minister, Mr A. Raja.

Since then, two foreign companies — Bahrain Telecom and Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat — have announced their exit from India.

Another operator Loop has written to Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, asking the Government to return the licence fee paid by the company along with interest.

The current situation has put at risk the existing investment of billions of US dollars in the mobile network infrastructure, in a sector that either directly or indirectly employs almost 10 million people and serves more than 894 million consumers,” GSMA said.

Since the deployment of mobile networks is capital intensive and the return is long-term, “uncertainty is particularly damaging to the future growth of India’s mobile sector,” it added.

GSMA said the uncertainty generated by the current legal situation also runs the risk of deterring much-needed investment in 3G and 4G networks.

The GSMA has also extended its participation in an open dialogue on this situation with the Government, to ensure fairness in the future auction process and maintain confidence in India’s position as a secure place to do business.

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