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    Default TRAI base price for 2G auction will be catastrophic for the sector: telcos

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    Rankled by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's recommendations on 2G spectrum auction, telecom companies, on Wednesday, made a joint pitch to top government functionaries, including Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, for not accepting the ‘catastrophic' recipe of the industry watchdog.

    Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal, Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao, Idea Cellular Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Telenor Chief Executive Officer Jon Fredrik Baksaas first made their case with Mr. Chidambram and Mr. Mukhejree and, then, followed it up with meetings with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal.

    They also met Pulok Chatterji, Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office, and also Commerce Minister Anand Sharma besides a host of top bureaucrats, including secretaries to the department of telecom and commerce.

    “This has been the most destructive period of regulatory environment I have seen in 16 years,” Mr. Mittal said, saying TRAI recommendations would be ‘catastrophic' for the entire telecom sector.

    Mr. Baksaas said the auction policy should be catalyst for “affordability, competition and investments” rather than leading to tariff hikes as would be the case with TRAI setting a high base price for the auction.
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