Vodafone CEO raps telecom policies

Written by fe Bureaus | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 31 2010, 04:45am hrs
In another indication of its disappointment over the telecom regulators recent recommendations on 2G spectrum pricing, the worlds largest telecom operator by revenue, Vodafone Plc said it would continue to invest in India but the government must provide stable and good policies.

Vodafone Plcs CEO Vittorio Colao, who is a part of the British Prime Minister David Camerons delegation to India said, We will invest in this market (India). We brought good competition to this market and we should be allowed to continue this investment strategy. For this, we need stable policies.

Trai made a string of recommendations in May which were rapped by most of the incumbent operators including Vodafone-Essar, the Indian arm of Vodafone Plc. The regulator had recommended charging a one-time fee for spectrum held beyond 6.2 Mhz and linking it with 3G spectrum prices for all future allocations along with refarming of spectrum at the time of renewal of licences If implemented, this could result in huge outgo for all incumbent operators.

Colao said the subscribers were looking forward to data services with the launch of 3G mobile services and Vodafone-Essar was working to bring low cost devices in Indian market. We are working already on very low cost devices to enable everybody to have access, and what we need to get is good rules that allow good investment in infrastructure, he said.

Meanwhile, referring to the companys law suits over a tax liability of $2 billion, Colao said that the company was confident that it had no dues.

We have invested lot of money. We have confidence in the court process. India has a very solid legal system and we will just go on and on until our reasons are heard, Colao added.

Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court deferred, till August 2, the hearing on an appeal filed by Vodafone International, challenging the income tax departments decision to levy tax on the company for acquiring stake of Hutchison International in Hutchison-Essar in a $1.1 billion deal in February 2007.