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Tatas call Chandrasekhar's attack a 'cheap gimmick'

Last updated on: December 17, 2010 19:47 IST

Tatas call Chandrasekhar's attack a 'cheap gimmick'

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Dubbing the debate triggered by Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar with Ratan Tata on 2G spectrum as 'futile', a Tata Group firm on Friday said his attack on a former telecom regulator was a 'cheap gimmick'.

Reacting to Chandrasekhar's allegations that Tatas had benefited a lot and got spectrum out of turn thanks to changes in government policies, Tata Teleservices said in a statement that they would not like to keep this issue alive any more in view of the Supreme Court investigating into the matter.

"We would, therefore, not be responding to any further statements from Rajeev Chandrasekhar, as we find the debate created by him to be futile," it said.

Earlier, Tata too had directly joined issue with Chandrasekhar after he wrote an open letter suggesting that Tata Group benefited from changes in the telecom policy.

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Image: Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata.
Photographs: Reuters
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Tatas call Chandrasekhar's attack a 'cheap gimmick'

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Commenting on TTSL's statement, the MP told PTI: "I reiterate the three questions I have been raising all along that with the formation of certain policies who benefited from these?"

He also said that best way was to have a public debate to tell the people of this country what went on in the telecom sector.

In the statement, Tatas' flagship telecom company Tata Teleservices said, on the contrary, it has always been put behind in the queue as was evident from the fact that the company was yet to receive 2G spectrum in Delhi and 39 other locations even three years after paying the licence fee of Rs 1,651 crore (Rs 16.51 billion).

Chandrasekhar had on Thursday said that Tata companies were beneficiaries of the telecom policies, especially dual technology and got spectrum out of turn.

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Image: Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
Photographs: Rediff Archive
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Tatas call Chandrasekhar's attack a 'cheap gimmick'

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He had also questioned former Trai chairman Pradeep Baijal's role for benefiting Tatas by recommending converting limited mobility into full mobility licences (called Unified Access Service Licence).

To this, TTSL said: "...linking a former regulator whose powers were only to make non-binding recommendations, insinuating that he granted huge benefits to Tata Tele -- this is nothing but a cheap gimmick."

The real beneficiaries of DoT's "inconsistent and arbitrary" policies were incumbent GSM operators who were issued 48 GSM licences and allocated  65 MHz of additional spectrum free of charge, beyond the contracted spectrum, between 2004 and 2008, TTSL said.

On spectrum hoarding, TTSL said the recent CAG report and Trai's recommendations of May 2010 have pointed out that operators holding GSM spectrum beyond the contracted amount of 6.2 MHz should pay for excess spectrum.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"We have repeatedly clarified that TTSL is still waiting for GSM spectrum in 10 circles and is waiting for approval to offer dual technology in services in three circle," the statement said.

TTSL was one of the two major operators (along with Reliance Communications) who had got permission to offer dual technology services (both CDMA and GSM) in 2007 and the policy was opposed by all the existing operators, saying this was back door entry into GSM platform.

TTSL asserted that the company got the licences, be it full mobility licences or dual technology, only after the policy came into effect and after paying the same amount as was paid by others.

"In fact, 48 new GSM licences were issued between 2004 and 2008 (which included six to Bharti, nine to Vodafone, 11 to Idea, one to Reliance and 21 to Aircel, apart from a further 113 licences in 2008 on the same norms -- of fees equivalent to that paid by the fourth cellular licence," TTSL said.


Photographs: Reuters
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