Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal has urged sectoral regulator TRAI to adopt a long-term vision for the industry and not approach regulations in “fits and starts” or reactive manner.
He said that it is the responsibility of the regulator to ensure that there is “amicable co-existence of operators, less noise, and more work” in the system.
“My view on this is that the regulator needs to have a long-term vision for this industry. You cannot be doing things in fits and starts. Too much of activity is happening in reactive manner,” Mittal told reporters on sidelines of the Mobile World Congress. He was responding to a specific query on TRAI recently seeking industry’s views on promotional offers and predatory pricing.
TRAI last month came out with a consultation paper to review the rules of tariff assessment with regards to promotional offers and predatory pricing, issues that have triggered a public spat between incumbent operators like Bharti Airtel and newcomer Reliance Jio. These contentious issues would be debated as part of a consultation paper on ‘Regulatory Principles of Tariff Assessment’ issued by TRAI.
Mittal said he is glad that TRAI has formed a group of experts, including representatives from the industry to look at long-term roadmap for the industry, including on issues like interconnect, tariffs and predatory pricing. “TRAI is coming alive to some issues and putting a committee of stakeholders to come out with recommendations will be a good outcome. I hope when the recommendations come they don’t land us in further spots of litigation, but that they are futuristic, visionary and take care of all stakeholders,” he said.
For PM’s vision of digital India to be realised to the fullest extent, telecom has to be at the centrestage of that vision, Mittal said.”Some stuff if being done by TRAI but all I’d say is don’t do it in on fits and starts, have a comprehensive approach…,” Mittal said.