GSM operators blocking competition, says Tata Tele MD

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 12:12 Hrs
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New Delhi: Tata Teleservices has alleged that the appeal filed by existing GSM operators in the High Court seeking a stay on issuing new licenses is aimed at blocking competition, reported Business Line.

Anil Sardana, Managing Director, Tata Teleservices, said that the GSM players were acting as a cartel to deny entry to new players. "It is to the existing GSM operator's benefit that everything gets delayed. Therefore they are seeking a stay on Government's decisions. It is really disappointing the way they react as soon as any decision is taken that is against their liking," he added.

Sardana pointed out that all the operators should look at ways that would allow the Government to move forward rather than holding the entire industry, which is seeing phenomenal growth, to ransom just because they feel that some of the policy decisions seem to be against them.

"They want to block new players from coming into GSM, they do not want new operators to come in 3G. They cannot take such a position that completely stalls the decision making process," Sardana said.

Tata Teleservices has applied for a pan Indian GSM license under the new policy to allow dual technology. Existing operators have been opposing entry of new players on the grounds that the Government should first make sure that there is enough spectrum for currently operating companies.

Sardana said that the GSM operators were only using this argument as an excuse to block competition. "If they really wanted to find a solution to the problem they would have participated in the technical committee set up by the Government. What is the basis of seeking a stay on the Government’s decision making process?" he asked.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular and Spice Telecom have filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on issuing licence or spectrum to new players. The petition filed by these operators said that the telecom tribunal had failed in giving an interim stay on the decision to permit dual technology.

The case is likely to be taken up by the court on Monday. GSM operators fear that without a stay the Government would go ahead and give permission to new players to enter the telecom sector, which would put further crunch on spectrum.

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