ABTO Adopts New Name: Bid To Unify Lobbies

New Delhi: | Updated: Jan 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
The Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO) has rechristened itself as Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (acronym not decided as yet). The idea is to rope in more telecom operators as its members to garner larger industry base in the new unified licence regime.

This was announced by the new association president Prakash C Bajpai also president of Reliance Infocomm while briefing media after ABTO annual general meeting on Wednesday. Mr Bajpai was elected president replacing Tata Teleservices managing director S Ramakrishnan.

Commenting on the possible merger of two telecom operators associations: ABTO and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Mr Bajpai agreed that there were many issues common between ABTO and COAI and said that the the merger would be ideal. He, however, denied any concrete development towards the merger of two associations.

Interestingly, differences between the two associations emerged soon over the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in telecom service sector. While COAI has been lobbying for allowing 74 per cent FDI in the sector, ABTO president said, Right now, we do not see it (FDI limit) as a major issue. As concerns have been raised within the government, we leave it to the government to decide. Anyway, if you have a good business case, there is no dearth of capital within the country.

ABTO also demanded more spectrum from the government for basic/unified

operators to roll out broadband and next generation services.