industry but at the same time there has to be a balance between compliance with rules and consumers interests.
"Telecom industry saw promising signs in 2013 with rationalisation of realised rates, sharp growth of data revenue, control on acquisition costs and churn and finally some clarity on regulatory front with auctions being announced," Bharti Enterprises Deputy Group CEO and MD Akhil Gupta said.
With fewer telecom operators in the country after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 2G licences in February 2012, mobile phone service providers were able to increase tariffs. The trend continued in 2013 with all operators, except Videocon, MTS and Uninor, which bought spectrum afresh after their licences were cancelled, increasing call rates and mobile charges.
Call rates of old telecom players almost doubled this year from 2012. New operators kept rates at a lower level to attract customers and build their base.
"The year 2013 has been a revival year for the telecom sector. The 2G auction in 2012 saw the exit of several foreign and indigenous players much to the joy of existing players who are now looking for market capitalisation and consolidation," KPMG Advisory Services Partner Jaideep Ghosh said.
"2013 was challenging because if you have to abruptly shut down your business, a comeback is never easy," Videocon Telecommunications CEO Arvind Bali said. The company has been the fastest-growing service provider in terms of subscriber additions during the past five months.
Infighting among telecom players and differences within the government were highlighted after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's recommendations on spectrum valuation and auction reserve price.
Sistema Shyam Teleservices, which operates under the MTS brand, alleged the TRAI favoured GSM players by not recommending auction of CDMA spectrum and suggesting that part of the 800 MHz CDMA airwaves be used for GSM technology.
"We still await clarity on the pricing of 800 MHz band spectrum from TRAI so that we could get on with the job of driving our voice-enabled data centric strategies. It would be most ideal if auctions for all spectrum bands i.e., 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz, could happen concurrently in early 2014," MTS India CEO Dmitry