GOOD READS

Call rates can rise 100 percent, warn telecom operators

New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) Telephone tariffs will go up 100 percent hitting customers hard if the government accepts the sector regulator's proposals on spectrum auction, service providers warned Thursday.

"Our belief is that the implication could be as high as 100 percent of the existing rates to be compensated by the customers. This would vary circle to circle and doesn't take into account any spectrum re-farming, which would actually push prices even further," said Sanjay Kapoor, Airtel chief executive officer.

Briefing the media a day after their bosses met key ministers and top officials to argue their case against the regulator's proposals, operational heads of the companies termed the recommendations as flawed and retrograde.

"The TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) recommendations are flawed and retrograde, regressive and uncertain, which will harm consumer interest, and will ring the death knell for the Indian telecom industry," Kapoor said.

Present also at the news conference called by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) were Himanshu Kapania, managing director of Idea Cellular, Rajiv Bawa, chief representative officer, Telenor India, Arvind Bali, Videocon director and CEO, and Vodafone managing director Marten Pieters.

On the proposed re-farming, Kapoor said: "If we were to surrender the 900 MHz spectrum and switch to 1800 MHz, you as customers will find dark holes inside and in streets and bylanes. The rural part of the country will seem disconnected tomorrow."

He also said the move could cost the industry thousands of crore and affect the environment. "We will need to put more towers for 1800 MHz, with more diesel, and this will impact the environment."

The operators sought a drastic reduction in the reserve price of spectrum, rejection of recommendation on re-farming, auction all spectrum available and do away with rollout obligations for auctioned spectrum from the government.

They also said that an artificial scarcity of spectrum was being created by auctioning only a limited amount of spectrum is being auctioned which will push up the auction prices.

Pieters of Vodafone said the operators were struggling for spectrum and it was in the interest of the industry to bring all the spectrum into play. "Every day you don't use it, you lose out."

"We need more spectrum. The average spectrum here is 6.4 Mhz, while everywhere else, you have 22 MHz."

On the proposed high spectrum reserve price, Kapoor said: "Any business case for a new technology has to be seen in a longer period of time but there are business cases which don't make sense in a 20-year horizon. And this is one of them."

Asked about differences among the firms, Bawa of Telenor said: "We compete in the market and fight all the time, and we will continue to have differences, but today we are here because we have a common cause, and there are things that are not good for a new player, and not good for an incumbent."

"The premise is the supreme court order, which say that licenses are quashed, and fresh licenses need to be given through an auction. At the most, one new player will be able to come in at these prices. This will impact tariffs, the roll-out obligations will impact, on top of this," he added.

Telenor's had urged the government to invite only new players for the auction.

Kapoor also said that the recommendations if accepted would badly affect the government's plan of extending low cost telephony in rural and remote areas of the country.

TRAI has recommended, among other proposals, a reserve price of Rs.3,622 crore for 1 MHz pan-India spectrum, which is around 10 times higher than the price at which 2G licences were allocated in 2008 under former Telecom Minister A. Raja.

Quiz: How well do you know India's economy?

Question 1

Which of these products is India the world's largest producer of?

Poll Choice Options
  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Milk
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Latest News

  • Tour Miami Beach's Burdines Department Store in 1953

    Click here to view the full photogallery.Photos via "Library of Congress Today we take take a break from the regularly scheduled residential fare to have a look at the interiors of a department store in the 1950s. Burdines, the... …

  • Rajaratnam's brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges
    Rajaratnam's brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges

    Rengan Rajaratnam, the younger brother of imprisoned hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, on Friday lost a bid to dismiss some of the insider trading charges leveled against him last year. U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled that the indictment adequately alleged the essential elements of the crimes charged. A lawyer for Rajaratnam did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment. …

  • Break the Mold With a Brutalist 'Tree House' on the Chesapeake

    Click here to view the full photogallery. Up for $1.29M on Maryland's Gibson Island is this atypical Chesapeake cottage, a 2,826-square-foot fortress designed by blocky brutalism extraordinaire, Ulrich Franzen. Known as the Glass Tree House, the 1962 three-bedroom was... …

  • Colorful Fabrics Restore a 'Dilapidated Concrete Bungalow'

    Click here to view the full photogallery.Photos by Simon Upton/Elle Decor Enchanted by the "wild dogs and unrestored, decaying palazzos" of Lecce, a historic city in Puglia, Italy, fashion designer Liza Bruce and her husband, artist Nicholas Alvis Vega,... …

  • Inside Karim Rashid's Magical, Hot Pink 'Sparkle Krib'

    Click here to view the full photogallery. Give designer Karim Rashid pretty much anything—a condo tower, a food court, a record album, a Twitter account—and he'll be sure to make it fruit-punch colored and amorphous, the princess castle of... …

IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS & INTERVIEWS

  • This might well be India’s biggest Ponzi scam

    It was just too good to be true. Ashok Khital, 45, displays every symptom of a man who knows he's been conned. …

  • India's star studded football league

    High and mighty including Sachin, Salman & Sun Group buy ISL teams …

  • Leaderspeak with Rajesh Janey

    Rajesh Janey, President - India & SAARC, EMC shares many firsts in his life. …

  • Power Hungry

    Gujarat has power round-the-clock. Most other states do not. Why this will matter in the general elections. …

  • Etcetera

    The most keenly watched contest of the current general election will be the one for the Varanasi parliamentary seat, where the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi squares off ... …

  • Economy vs Democracy

    As the country gets election fever, cash comes out of mattresses and turns into liquor, gifts, and food. But it is not bad for the health of the economy, reports Sarika Malhotra from the trenches. …

  • Bracing for Challenges

    Raghuram Rajan is preparing to deal with concerns that may arise when a new government takes charge. …

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    16.52+0.88+5.63%
    UNITECH.BO
    73.85+3.05+4.31%
    HDIL.BO
    13.36+0.25+1.91%
    SUZLON.BO
    718.55-6.70-0.92%
    HDFCBANKSL.BO
    57.40+2.75+5.03%
    JAIPRA.BO
  • Price % Gainers
    Price % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    12.60+2.10+20.00%
    AGRIMONY.BO
    242.50+40.40+19.99%
    ACRYSIL.BO
    83.50+13.90+19.97%
    SICAL.BO
    46.00+7.65+19.95%
    SHRGLTR.BO
    65.25+10.85+19.94%
    AHLUCONT.BO
  • Price % Losers
    Price % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    11.60-2.70-18.88%
    ANISHAIMPEX.BO
    51.10-8.85-14.76%
    WINSOMTX.BO
    11.70-1.30-10.00%
    BLCISER.BO
    425.00-40.00-8.60%
    GCMSECU.BO
    59.40-5.55-8.55%
    JBML.BO
  •  
    Recent Quotes
    Symbol Price Change % ChgChart 
    Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
    You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
  • Recent Quotes News

    •  
      Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.