LTE spectrum auction -Will India liberalize telecom investment policy?

Telecom Lead India: Though India is the second largest
telecom market based on mobile user base, the country could not attract
investments in mobile ventures from companies such as China Mobile, Qtel, MTN,
Verizon, Telefonica, Orange, Teliasonera, T-Mobile, etc.

The forthcoming LTE 4G spectrum auctions will be a big
opportunity for Indian telecom ministry to attract big telecom operators in the
world. But India needs to liberalize its investment policies and guarantee
hassle-free investments.

Allowing foreign companies with 100 percent stake will
attract major investments. Following the allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008,
most of the telecom partnerships did not work well. Foreign telecom majors such
as Telenor, Etisalat and Bahrain Telecom struggled in Indian soil due to our policy
and their partners.

Bharti Airtel is one of the few companies in the world that
continued with a partner like SingTel. SingTel’s contribution impacted
positively on the growth plans of Airtel in India and Africa. Tussle between
Vodafone and the Essar group had affected Vodafone’s investments in India.

Telecom Lead recommends 100 percent ownership to foreign
telecom operators. This will further unlock potential of Indian telecom market.

If Pakistan is keen to attract China Mobile to bid for 3G
spectrum auction, we much look at inviting foreign companies during LTE

According to media reports, China Mobile Communications is
planning to bid in Pakistan’s 3G wireless spectrum auction.

If we succeed in the auction, we will provide the Pakistani
people with 3G services on a Wideband Code Division Multiple Access network, as
the spectrum being auctioned are suitable for WCDMA technology,” said Wang
Jianzhou , chairman of China Mobile.

Wang has revealed that China Mobile is bidding for
a 3G license for the Pakistani unit, and will also seek other global expansion
opportunities with a focus on emerging markets. China Mobile aims to invest in
TDD LTE technology. India is getting ready for LTE investments. Can we invite
China Mobile by relaxing our policies?”

China Mobile is looking to acquire minority stake in
telecommunications operators in North America or Europe.

China Mobile acquired Pakistani operator Paktel, a
loss-making Pakistani carrier, for $284 million from Millicom International
Cellular in 2007, which was renamed China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak).

Fan Yunjun, CEO of CMPak, recently said that China Mobile’s
investment in Pakistan had reached $1.5 billion.

In a bid to attract global telecom giants the Pakistan
Telecommunication Authority (PTA) recently increased  its efforts for the bidding process of
3G/4G license scheduled to be held on March 28-29.

Baburajan K and Danish Khan