COAI’s Statement on TRAI’s recommendations on the Ease of Doing Business’

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COAI, welcomes these recommendations, and hopes that the DoT will also consider them positively at the earliest. They are aligned with what, we had submitted, and will go a long way in helping the industry move forward. These will significantly help India’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business index as well, and we hope the government implements these as soon as possible.

The new rules should significantly ease mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and improve normal operations of the telecom service providers. TRAI has suggested spectrum trading be allowed across all bands and for M&A where there is excess spectrum, the merged entity should be allowed to trade spectrum. Further recommendations include a paperless SACFA clearance process, and 30-day deadlines for the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to give approval for mergers (after NCLT clearance), as well as for import licences for equipment.

We also welcome the recommendation, that the DoT should put together a matrix where the penalty for a violation of a licence rule should be linked to the severity of the violation. This was a key demand as currently the telcos were being forced to challenge penalties going into crores of rupees, for extremely minor violations, taking us to the courts, leading to long and financially draining cumbersome & unnecessary litigations.

At a time when the industry is financially distressed, and needs all the help it can get from the government, these recommendations come as a breath of fresh air. A lot more is needed but this is a great start and the industry whole heartedly welcomes these, and compliments the regulator. Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI