Trai suggests lifting M&A restrictions

Trai suggests lifting M&A restrictions

New Delhi: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday recommended ending restrictions on telecoms firms selling out, a move which will help consolidation in the world’s fastest growing telecoms market.

Currently, government restricts telecoms firms from selling majority stakes within three years of getting licence.

Trai also suggested telecoms firms pay a one-time fee for holding radio-spectrum beyond 6.2 mega hertz (MHz) based on 3G prices, a move that will hit established operators like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone.

Government currently grants additional radio airwaves to firms when they reach subscriber-addition milestones, only charging a usage fee for the resource.

The recommendations of the Trai have to be accepted by the telecoms ministry before they become law.

Fifteen operators service 584 million mobile phone users in India, the world’s second-largest market for such services after China. The addition of nearly 16 million users each month has attracted global names like Norway’s Telenor, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo and Abu Dhabi’s Etisalat .