"High time stakeholders worked together for robust growth of telecom sector"

Communications Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday asked telecom service providers to iron out their differences, particularly over spectrum allocation, and work towards growth of the telecom sector, which has been going through a bad phase following the alleged 2G scam.

Mr. Sibal, who along with his Minister of State Sachin Pilot, met top functionaries of telecom companies here to seek their views on formulation of the new telecom policy, said it was high time that all stakeholders worked together to ensure robust growth of the industry.

“I have urged the stakeholders that the captains of the industry must get together and iron out the differences among themselves because no industry can be robust if it is fractious,” Mr. Sibal told journalists after the meeting. A range of issues including allocation and sharing of spectrum, merger and acquisition and annual spectrum usage charges was discussed.

The meeting comes on the heels of the recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on spectrum management and licensing framework.

“Now these issues will be taken to the Telecom Commission and later the government will take a decision on them. I have a 100-day agenda and I keep my 100-day agenda,” Mr. Sibal said.

“The Minister has asked us to give by month-end our recommendations to sort out differences in the industry,” said Cellular Operators Association of India Director Rajan S. Mathew.

Referring to the TRAI recommendations, Telecom Secretary R. Chandrasekhar said the next step was to take them to the Telecom Commission. “But as the Minister has indicated, we would need to leave some time for a possible meeting of minds or consensus. We would try to take forward the decision-making process at the earliest.”