Make profits, but remember national interest: Sibal to telcos

Sep 06 2011, 18:22 IST
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SummaryThere should be corporate collaboration, not corporate rivalry says Sibal.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday warned that growth of the telecom industry would be hurt if companies did not align their profit-making motives with the national interest and such a scenario could lead to over-regulation of the sector.

"If national interest is on one platform and you are on a profit-making platform, nothing is going to work. If the growth does not benefit the country, then there will be regulations," Sibal said while speaking at an international workshop on regulatory frameworks, organised by telecom sector regulator Trai. He emphasised that regulation was required to prevent the abuse of existing facilities, but over-regulation would hurt

growth.

"If it is an over-regulated environment, then you can not get growth. If it's under-regulated, then you get abused. So deciding on an optimal level is a challenge," Sibal said.

At the same time, the minister also asked the telecom companies to collaborate with each other and favoured sharing of spectrum between various players.

"It's time for us to consolidate industry. We can't afford 12-13 players in a circle. I think spectrum can be shared and I don't think there is a need for over-regulation for this," the minister said. Sibal had earlier also asked the telecom companies to work together for future growth of the sector, rather than engage in corporate rivalry. "There should be corporate collaboration, not corporate rivalry," he said at an event in March.

In July also, Sibal said in an interview that corporate rivalry was hurting the sector. "Because the industry is at war with itself and because they are trying to destroy each other, the consequences are that we are destroying the hen that lays the golden eggs," he had said.

Aggarwal said the basic question for the court is to determine whether there is any loss to the exchequer and if TRAI recommended that the spectrum be auctioned.

"Thus for deciding the same question, the TRAI report is essentially required as the same is a vital document and the same is relied even by the CBI in the charge sheet by stating it to be awaited," Aggarwal said, adding "it is an essential document and now in the possession of the CBI".

Aggarwal also sought directions to the CBI to call for the Union Law Ministry report to the Department of Telecom on applicability of clause 8 of Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) guidelines, which, as per the report, purportedly applies only to companies

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