The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Telecom funds prefer Chinese ring tone

New Delhi, Aug. 13: India has attracted over Rs 25,000 crore worth of foreign investment in the telecom sector since it was thrown open to private players in the early nineties. But the country could now lose out to China as an attractive destination for overseas telecom investments because of the inconsistencies in the government policies.

Bharti group’s joint managing director Rajan Bharti Mittal and Motorola’s chief operating officer and president Mike S. Zafirovski today asked the government to streamline its telecom sector policies if it wants to beat China in the race to attract FDI. The captains of the two leading telecom firms also urged the telecom regulator to help build greater confidence in the sector to unplug FDI inflows as it will play an important role in the overall growth of the economy.

Speaking at a Ficci organised conference, ‘Communications: India, the next Asian giant’, Mittal, who is the chairman of Ficci’s telecom committee, said, “We need strong regulatory decision and consistent policy. While we (the government, regulator and industry) strongly lobby for FDI flows into India, we fail to provide overseas investors with the necessary environment. China has the potential to beat us on the issue of consistency in telecom policy.”

Delivering the key-note speech at the conference, Pradeep Baijal, chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), said the mobile phone density in India has to soon match that of China. Growth in telecom sector, particularly in mobile phones, has had a direct impact on the growth of per capita income and the GDP.

Unified licences on backseat

Trai will give priority to release of orders relating to interconnect user charge regime and TDSAT’s directive for developing a model to create level playing field for cellular operators over the unified licence regime, said Baijal.

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