2G spectrum: Do telecom commission and TRAI need support system

Telecom Lead India : feels that Indian telecom
commission and TRAI lack intellectual support system to manage the 2G, 3G and
4G spectrum issues. While giving due respect to judiciary, we also think such a
support system will help our judiciary find a better solution to the issue that
raises a question mark on the future of Indian telecom industry.

We are re-presenting a few cases to explain the severity
of the issue. Norway’s Telenor made several plans and decisions over
the past few weeks to boost its investments in Indian telecom sector. In one
occasion, Uninor said it will invest Rs 2,000 crore. Following the announcement
of spectrum recommendations, Uninor CEO said it will exit from India. The
latest news: Telenor will write-down $682 million due to India exposure”Ž.

BSNL wants to return spectrum as it is not interested in
WiMAX technologies. Qualcomm got BWA spectrum recently (after a long fight).
Some operators left us while the existing ones are highly critical of the
government for causing financial loss to them. 3G did not bring money to them.
There are more woes to come.

Are Indian bureaucrats and ministers paying deaf ears to
the call of Indian telecom industry that is rattled by spectrum scam and high
bid prices? Don’t we have enough case studies from abroad from where we can
learn good lessons? Can’t our policy makers learn from the success stories of
China, Europe, America?

Telecom Lead earlier recommended foreign telecom
investors to remain patient and grow in this highly potential market. Indian
telecom story will be incomplete if foreign partners exit from the country. The
country’s telecom market is growing thanks to the great interest shown by
foreign operators and technology vendors including Chinese majors Huawei and

Meanwhile, here’s a good news: Bahrain Telecom wants to
come back.

Indian bureaucrats should be able to formulate long term
guidelines for investors. Recently, at the GSM conference in Barcelona, CEO of
a top telecom equipment vendor told Telecom Lead: If India needs, we can offer
consultancy. We feel Indian bureaucrats are not spending enough time to learn
about spectrum issues.”

Do TRAI and DoT need assistance from industry experts?
The recent issues suggest that Indian telecom industry decision makers from the
government need more intellectual support in handling the spectrum issue.

Operators affected by 2G spectrum may be prompted to take
their final stand before the spectrum auction happens in July. The industry is
waiting to see if the government is taking the necessary steps to boost their

Baburajan K and Danish Khan

[email protected]