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TRAI puts new telecom licences on hold
Published on 6 Aug. 2009 1:56 AM IST
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India’s telecoms regulator has asked the government not to issue new licences until it decides whether there is a need for more players in the crowded market, a move that could further delay entry of firms such as AT&T. According to Reuters, the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked the government to “keep in abeyance” the grant of new 2G licences till the watchdog finalises its recommendations, it said in a letter posted on its website India has issued 281 licences for the country’s 22 telecoms zones, or up to 14 licencees per zone. These include 122 licences from 575 applications received in 2007 from 46 firms, including real-estate and technology firms with no telecoms experience. “Sufficient competition seems to be already in place and spectrum is a scarce resource,” the government had said in a letter to the regulator recently. The government had also sought the watchdog’s views on auctioning spectrum for 2G mobile standard, instead of the current practice of giving licencees entitlement for spectrum. The government is also planning to call bids for 3G licences. AT&T had expressed interest to acquire licence for all of India’s 22 telecoms zones. Others in the queue include firms linked to Videocon Group, DLF, JSW, Hinduja Group and Moser Baer.

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