GSM telcos slam Trai for biased policy decisions supporting new players

By August 9th, 2016 AT 12:18 AM

Indian GSM telecom operators have slammed the telecom regulator for taking biased policy decisions through recent consultation papers to support new players in the market. The telcos, through their industry body the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), expressed deep concern over some of the recent consultation papers by Trai, and said that these, seen along with other recent TRAI decisions, point to a pattern of discrimination against the existing mobile operators.

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COAI added it is shocked that some of the papers seem to have been crafted and timed to serve the interests of new players, with complete disregard for the massive investments made by the existing operators.

“A clear, stable and predictable policy environment is the cornerstone of any ?regulatory regime that fosters industry growth and customer services. Over the past few months, the industry has seen an unprecedented deluge of discussion papers from TRAI. Some of the consultation papers appear to be heavily loaded in favour of new players and point towards a bias against the existing operators,” Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI, said in a statement.

COA has urged the government and TRAI to address and resolve its concerns on an urgent basis.

“We hope that TRAI will take a more balanced view on issues impacting the entire industry and ensure a level-playing field,” Mathews added.

The telcos have raised the mobile termination charge issue, and said that it is surprising to see the urgency displayed by TRAI in this matter, with the consultation process initiated at such an early date and despite the fact that the matter is sub-judice in various courts of law. “It appears that the exercise is aimed at hurting the financial and operational viability of existing operators,” the telcos said.

In another consultation paper, TRAI has sought to regulate the charges for termination of Internet Telephony calls without even finalising the routing and numbering framework. TRAI is trying to regulate the price of a service, which is niche and largely unknown. COAI said that the Industry is unable to comprehend this urgency.

“The bias is also evident from the fact that TRAI in an unprecedented move reduced the block size of 2300 MHz band spectrum from 20 MHz to 10 MHz, only to accommodate existing BWA holders who would have otherwise crossed the band specific cap beyond 30 MHz,” the industry body said.

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