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05-03-2012, 10:36 AM #1
Spectrum sale: Telcos raise pitch against Trai proposals
Rankled by TRAI's recommendations on 2G spectrum auction , leading telecom firms on Wednesday made a pitch to top government functionaries, including Home Minister P Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, urging them not to accept the regulator's "catastrophic" recipe.
"We presented our case to leadership and senior ministers in the government... this industry is vital for the nation and the recommendations of TRAI could spell a death knell for the industry," Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal said.
He said that Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) recommendations will be "catastrophic" for the entire telecom sector.
Mittal was joined by Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao, Idea Cellular Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas. They first presented their case with Chidambaram and Mukherjee and then followed it up 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, besides a host of top bureaucrats, including Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar and Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar.
"If the decision is taken in interest of the industry, they (TRAI recommendations) have to be changed. I think the current recommendations will kill the industry," Birla said.
Baksaas said the auction policy should be catalyst for "affordability, competition and investments" rather than leading to tariff hikes as would be case with TRAI setting a very high base price for the auction.
"The recommendations are such that looking forward, they do not make a viable business case for Telenor," said Basksaas, whose company has indicated that it may exit India business.