Auspi eyes 75 million subscribers by 2007

New Delhi, Nov 19 | Updated: Nov 20 2005, 07:04am hrs
Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (Auspi) estimates to expand its subscriber base by 275% to 75 million by 2007 from the current 20 million. It further plans to invest Rs 18,000 crore more by then to take total investments to Rs 53,000 crore. Auspi members (Tata, Reliance, HFCL) current investments in the sector stand at Rs 36,000 crore.

The organisation, which represents unified service licence holders, said this in a presentation before the media after appointing Tata TeleServices director Mukund G Rajan as its president earlier this week.

In the presentation, Auspi secretary-general SC Khanna urged the government to put in enablers to enhance rural teledensity to bridge the rural-urban divide. Mr Khanna said apart from reducing the cost to serve, the government should ensure effective utilisation of the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). The USOF is a fund created to facilitate telecom operators to extend operations in rural areas.

Mr Khanna also raised the issue of sharing the resources. To achieve higher teledensity, he said, infrastructure sharing could be brought in on reasonable commercial terms. In an obvious reference to BSNL, Mr Khanna also demanded that the interconnection with another operator be treated as the operators right and must be granted without delay. BSNL currently takes 12 months to provide interconnection to private operators.

The presentation recommended identification and sharing of best global practices.