India telecom minister to address mobile operators issues soon: DoT secretary

Telecom Lead Team:
DoT Secretary R. Chandrasekhar announced that Kapil
Sibal, telecom minister of India, will address the concerns of the mobile
operators in the country.


Kapil Sibal met Sunil Bharti Mittal, Anil Ambani,
Vodafone’s Marten Pieters and others on Tuesday to discuss issues on spectrum
pricing, allocation of spectrum, national telecom policy, and others.


All operators conveyed their views on various issues
which are also a part of regulator TRAI’s recommendations on -Spectrum Pricing
and Framework. The minister will take a final call on telecom commission’s
suggestions soon,” DoT Secretary R. Chandrasekhar told reporters here.

Bharti Airtel CMD Sunil Bharti Mittal and the company CEO
Sanjay Kapoor, Reliance Communications Chairman Anil Ambani, Vodafone India’s
CEO Marten Pieters, Idea Cellular MD Himanshu Kapania were among the leaders
who met Kapil Sibal.

This was the second high-level government-industry
interaction in less than two months. Earlier on November 30, the industry
leaders met Kapil Sibal
on the same issues.

The issues concerning the operators include one-time fee
for spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz for GSM operators and 2.5 MHz for CDMA players,
besides allocation of radio waves through auction-only route.

Last year, the Telecom Commission decided to levy a
one-time charge for extra spectrum beyond contracted limit of 4.4 MHz (GSM) and
2.5 MHz (CDMA) held by the players, which put a burden of approximately Rs
17,000 crore in their bottom line.

Operators have been contending this decision saying there
was no such clause in the licence guidelines under which a one-time charge can
be imposed.

The Commissions suggestions on these contentious issues
are likely to be moved before the Cabinet. They have also claimed that
allotment of spectrum to them was as per the existing policy.

On spectrum allocation front, telecom companies support
an auction route to determine the one-time fee for spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz.

The Telecom Commission decided to charge a uniform
licence fee of 8 per cent as against current rate of 6-10 per cent.

The telecom industry has demanding a lower licence fee of
6 per cent of adjusted gross revenues (AGR) while TRAI had recommended 8 per
cent of AGR.

These meetings are happening at time when telecom
operators are likely to report decline net profit.

Idea posts 27.17% increase in Q3 2011-12 revenue at Rs 5,031

For instance, Idea Cellular has posted 27.17 percent
increase in revenue in Q3 FY 2011-12 at Rs 5,030.82 crore as compared with Rs
3,955.61 crore in the corresponding quarter in previous year. Its net profit
plummeted 17.31 percent to Rs 200.98 crore in the third quarter of current
fiscal from Rs 243.05 crore in the same quarter last fiscal.


[email protected]