‘Differential licensing will hurt telcos’

Telecom operators have collectively opposed any move to introduce differential licensing via unbundling of various layers, arguing that the proposal goes against regulatory consistency and would wreak unknown and unpredictable impact on investments made, leading to investor uncertainty.

Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, and Airtel, as well as industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) have asserted that such unbundling is neither necessary nor desirable.

Debt-laden Vodafone Idea has told the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that that there is an urgent need to address underlying issue of poor financial health rather than recommend or implement yet another licensing framework that would ‘create ambiguity and additional challenges,’ and deter investments.

Reliance Jio has said that a converged licence for network and service layer offers clarity, and certainty to an operator making investment in the network. Any move to split the functions would be ‘regressive’ and increase the sector’s compliance burden.

Bharti Airtel said, priority areas like strengthening of telecom infrastructure would require enormous fund infusion. The investment requirements is estimated to be about ₹2,00,000 crore over the next 2-3 years. “For generating such an amount of investment, the government needs to provide incentives, reduce regulatory cost, provide appropriate policy and financial stimulus to the existing service providers under the current framework rather than changing the licensing regime itself.”

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 9:36:12 AM |

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