The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pitroda wants ‘gorilla’ set free

New Delhi, Sept. 18: The man who revolutionised the telecom sector in India —Sam Pitroda —has called for immediate dilution of government control in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd to 51 per cent.

“The government has chained the gorilla (MTNL-BSNL) that once unleashed has the potential to take on the best in the world. It is time that both the public sector companies get listed abroad,” said Pitroda, chief executive officer of WorldTel.

“The number of subscribers that MTNL and BSNL together have makes them very big players in the telecom sector in India. Companies like Reliance, Tata and Bharti will have to really slug it out. They can get a level playing field with BSNL/MTNL only when the latter is freed from governmental control,” said Pitroda.

Speaking on the sidelines of CII’s leadership summit, Pitroda said the telecom sector in India has had a slow growth compared with other countries. “We should have had 100 million telephones by this year as against 30 million with the pace we launched ourselves in telecom sector. If we had the revenue sharing formula from day one, we would have solved a lot of problems,” said Pitroda.

The man who is credited with launching the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) in India, a research organisation, is back to advising on its restructuring, leadership, product audit, processes, marketing and alliances.

Pitroda and a team of C-DoT officials have prepared a report to improve the performance of the organisation that will be submitted to a steering committee and then presented at the governing council. Commenting on the move to harness wi-fi in developing countries, Pitroda said more work needs to be done and the cost of implementation will determine its application over a larger area.

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