The telecom minister Kapil Sibal is likely to meet the top telecom bigwigs like Anil Ambani Sunil Mittal, Kumat Mangalam Birla and Vittorio Colao on Tuesday to deliberate on some of the issues which have resulted into a tussle between the government and the telecos.
The issue which are likely to be discussed are the one- time fee for the extra spectrum, the 3G roaming pacts and merger and acquisition norms. The meeting is believed to be taking place in the backdrop of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s response to the present concerns of the telecom sector some time back.
The telecos, it may be recalled, are seeking redressal of these issues before the new telecom policy unfolds in June his year.
Sometime back the leading telecom service operators including Tata Teleservices, Rcom, Sistema-Shyam and Uninor in a letter to the telecom minister Kapil Sibal had called the government’s proposal to charge the new telcos for additional spectrum as ‘discriminatory’.
Expressing concerns over the proposed move to charge for additional spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz, these operators said that they have an agreement with government for allotment of 6.2MHz against one time fee and all of a sudden one party has changed the valid legal contract which will lead to financial implications for them.
"If new operators like us are now going to be burdened with additional payment for 1.8/2.5 MHz spectrum, it would impact our sustainability and scalability," the letter said.
"The valid legal contract cannot be unilaterally changed by one party especially when the proposal has huge financial implication to the other party. The principle natural justice requires the consultation with the party who is going to be financially adversely impacted, by the unilateral change in the license provision," the letter had said.
These telcos had said that 6.2/5 MHz is considered contractual minimum and optimal quantity of spectrum for pan-India GSM operations according TDSAT, DoT and TRAI.
The telcos like Vodafone. Bharti Airtel and Idea cellular are also opposing the government’s move to scrap the 3G roaming pacts between the telcos. While the government calls it illegal, the telcos term the move as discriminatory and illogical.