May 4, 2012

Mobile Tariff may go up by 100%

The telecom firms said that if the recommendations of the Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) are accepted by the government, the mobile tariff will be increased by 100%, which will put pressure on their subscribers.

The telecom giants are putting pressure on the government to review the suggestions made by the TRAI. Holding a joint media conference on Thursday, the chief executives of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Telenor owned Uninor and Videocon, said that the proposal if accepted would lead to 100 percent hike in the call rates.

The firms described the TRAI's suggestions as the death of knell for the telecom industry. Speaking at the joint press conference, Sanjay Kapoor, CEO Bharti Airtel, said that the telecom industry is already struggling to get rid of high debts. The TRAI's recommendations would make things worse for both the firms and subscribers.

The TRAI's suggestions if accepted would play havoc in a country like India where people are fed up of having high inflation. The executive said that TRAI's argument that the move would lead to 2 paise per minute annually is not realistic. He said that the call rates could be increased higher.

Rajiv Bawa, chief representative officer of Telenor, said that the recommendations are not in line with Supreme Court’s order, which has cancelled all the 122 2G spectrum licences allotted in 2008 during the tenure of former telecom minister A Raja.

The court has directed the government to redistribute all the 122 licences in the auction.

The telecom giants also demanded the government to reduce the base price of spectrum by 80%. They said that all available spectrum should be put for the auction and the market should be allowed to discover the real price for the spectrum.

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