Kapil Sibal to meet Bahrain Telecom, Etisalat, Sistema, Telenor, Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular to resolve lawsuits

Telecom Lead India: Telecom and IT minister Kapil Sibal will meet the heads of Bahrain Telecommunications, Etisalat, Sistema, Telenor, Tata Teleservices and Idea Cellular, to resolve lawsuits.

Foreign direct investment into the world’s second-largest telecom market reduced 85 percent to $304 million in the year ended March 31, from $2 billion in the previous 12 months, according to government data, after the Supreme Court in February 2012 canceled 122 licenses in the wake of 2G scam.

Sibal, who also oversees the law ministry, will meet the heads of the wireless phone companies in the next two weeks, Bloomberg TV India reported. This will be a an eye opener for the telecom ministry to assist telecom operators.

Due to regulatory conditions and poor economy, Indian telecom industry is doing badly. TRAI recently said out of 12 mobile service providers, 5 posted decline in their gross revenue in the third quarter of fiscal 2013 as compared with the previous quarter, according to TRAI data released recently. TRAI data says Airtel’s adjusted gross revenue decreased 2.32 percent to Rs 7871 crore in Q3 FY 2013 from Q2 FY 2013.

India’s telecom minister recently took a major initiative to solve the $2.2 billion plus tax issue faced by Vodafone plc of the U.K. ( Congratulate Kapil Sibal for taking up Vodafone tax issue )

The report says Indian courts are hearing more than a dozen lawsuits from operators and the Department of Telecommunications over cases ranging from wrongful termination of licenses to purchases of mobile-airwaves beyond the legal limit.

“I am going to listen to them as to where are the areas in litigation that needs to be attended to,” Sibal said. “I don’t know exactly where the problem is. We will be extremely constructive about fixing the problem.”

“Part of the problem is the industry being at war with each other,” said Sibal in the interview. Other problems are the “bureaucracy” and the “state of the industry today is much worse than it ever was because of the huge debt that it has accumulated” of about 2.5 trillion rupees, he said.

editor@telecomlead.com