Assuring cellular operators, who have cried foul against regulator Trai’s policies and accused it of favouring new entrants including Reliance Jio, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha on Friday said the government will continue to “work without any bias or discrimination” against anyone.
“COAI delegation came to meet me and they have expressed some concerns. I told them that Government does not work with bias… Our work is not to stop anyone or allow anyone… For us, consumer is prime most,” Sinha said.
“The telecom sector’s history has been glorious and it has been a success story, and the industry will continue to grow in future as well. Government will work without any bias or discrimination,” he said.
COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said: “The minister and the Telecom Secretary JS Deepak highlighted that it is not good for the industry to be seen fighting with the regulator.
We understand the point going forward and this is not the way we would like to resolve it,” Mr Mathews said.
He added that the positive message from the government is that they are keen to settle the issue.
Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has accused Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) of being biased and adopting “unfair” policies to favour new entrants including Reliance Jio.
It has also sought the intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office on the issue and questioned the regulator’s urgency in initiating the process of interconnect review, claiming that it “favours new entrants” and discriminates against the existing mobile operators.
The move comes at a time when allegations are flowing thick and fast between cellular operators and RJio, with COAI terming the latter’s testing of network as bypass of regulations, and the Mukesh Ambani firm returning fire saying the charge is a bid to block its full rollout.
Association members who met the Telecom Minister included COAI Chairman Gopal Vittal (MD & CEO – India & South Asia, Bharti Airtel), Vice Chairman Sunil Sood (MD & CEO, Vodafone India) and Himanshu Kapania, MD of Idea Cellular.