3G roaming deals issue to affect investor confidence: Airtel

New Delhi : Leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel Friday said that penalties on operators should be imposed transparently and that the ongoing confusion over the 3G roaming deals is likely to affect investors’ confidence.

“Penalties on operators need to be imposed transparently … flip-flop on 3G roaming does not instill confidence in investors,” said Sanjay Kapoor, Bharti Airtel chief executive for India and South Asia, said at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) event here.

Airtel, along with other operators including Vodafone and Idea Cellular, had entered into a roaming agreement to offer 3G services in the circles where they could not win 3G spectrum.

However, the telecom regulator and the enforcement cell of the telecom department department have termed such an agreement illegal.

Kapoor also said that regulatory uncertainty should be put to rest and frequent changes in policies are not helping anyone.

Speaking about the National Telecom Policy (NTP), which is scheduled to be released in January, he said: “I hope NTP will be finalised in an open consultative and transparent manner.”

The high priced bidding for 3G auctions, which took place last year saw top operators coughing billions of ruppes with Bharti Airtel paying up Rs.12,295 crore for 13 circles.

While Airtel along with Vodafone won the spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai, other operators such as Idea Cellular bagged the spectrum in 11 circles but could not win spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai.

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