Corporate lessons for telcos
Apropos of the column “What’s Trai playing at?” (FE, January 29), if one looks back at the last few spectrum auctions, the industry has cried about a “death knell” over the reserve price and the bids, but we are yet to see a telco go under. It is frankly a blackmail if telcos want to beat prices down by saying they will “die” if spectrum costs remain the way they are. When businesses are not here for charity, why should the government be doing that? And please, let us not plead the job creation argument—it is not as if the companies are doing a favour by hiring. They need manpower to earn the profits they do and therefore they create jobs. I don’t see any company recruiting people just for the sake of giving the teeming millions a job. It has become a habit with corporates (and not just telcos) to blackmail governments into surrendering resources at prices the former want to pay. Let us just ask the corporates to perform or perish—an idiom they are familiar with. That should set the norm for working with them.
Sumona Pal, Kolkata
Heed telcos’ importance
Apropos of the column “What’s Trai playing at?” (FE, January 29), the spectrum auction pricing recommendations by Trai are perhaps its most profound policy discretion. And here one must express apprehension. There was a polynomial burst in the telecom user base at one of lowest global tariff. The mobile digital revolution that followed enabled massive consumer-access to digital transactions of every description. Sadly, this large and irreversible user-base misleadingly prompts very high bids for incremental technological platforms. This is a misplaced notion. Had we put up similar price levels at the 2G auctions, today’s e-commerce, e-banking and other enabling digital platforms would have remained under a prolonged gestation. And perhaps would have been born stunted and with a pitiable user-base. If a spanner is exorbitantly priced, the nuts will seldom be tightened and the framework will rattle to a collapse. Enabling technologies are just that—they enable growth, which is then leveraged to give return to the economy.
R Narayanan, Ghaziabad