It seems that the Regulator is in a complete state of denial and has adamantly chosen to avoid the clarifications issued by the industry and continues to rely on fallacious assumptions to arrive at an erroneous conclusion that the high reserve price will have no impact on affordability of service.
On the issue of High Reserve Price and its impact on affordability, while the industry was already concerned with the erratic and irrational high reserve prices, TRAI has on the contrary suggested an increase in the spectrum usage charge from 1% to 3%. The Industry will be doomed if such recommendations come into play as consumer affordability will be severely hampered.
Even leading Financial Analysts from around the globe have pointed out the shockingly erroneous conclusions of the TRAI and have provided clarifications and calculations which tally with the ones provided by the COAI earlier. TRAI appears to be deaf on this score.
TRAI has blatantly ignored the industry representations and in its response to DoT on the clarifications sought on the recommended reserve price for auction of spectrum, has suggested otherwise to further burden the sector with its erroneous and unfair recommendations in the matter. This will have serious public interest and public policy impacts and hence would be critically detrimental to the interests of the consumers and the nation and would inadvertently mark the nail in the coffin for the already struggling industry. “A definite death knell” as stated by Mr. Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI.
It is also alarming that in spite of the concern expressed by COAI on ‘Refarming’ that would lead to Destruction of Capital and Forced Obsolescence of Infrastructure the Authority has refused to address the issue and maintained its earlier position. One cannot help but observe that the recommendations apparently seem to be resolute towards favouring a few dual technology operators. The gradual inclination/favouritism towards the dual technology operators, which has been highlighted in TRAI’s previous recommendations, has become more evident now with this parting gift in the price of 800MHz spectrum which has been arbitrarily reduced from 2 times to 1.3 times the reserve price of 1800 MHz spectrum.
COAI vehemently rejects the flawed and biased recommendations put forth by TRAI and disapproves of the discriminatory environment between dual technology operators and GSM Operators and the subsequent violations of the level playing field.
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