Telecom Industry

Do politicians think that we are all fools? I think so.

Yesterday, I read in the papers that all the M’s, That is, the PM, FM and TM put their minds together to resolve the loss of Rs. 40-50,000 crores loss to the exchequer and came up with another idea to hoodwink the public. They are proposing to have a 3 year lock-in period for the sale of a promoter’s stake. Will this help or resolve any problem. The answer is NO. The reason is simple. The value of Unitech will remain whatever it is whether the funds are brought in as equity or as stake sale. The fact remains that Unitech with an investment of Rs. 1632 crores will become owner of company worth Rs. 11,000 crores in 10 months for the spectrum it holds which was sold to it by the government for peanuts. Some may argue that at least the promoters so not make any immediate cash gain. This is not true. Promoters can always raise the money against their stake in the company to use in the telecom venture or any other venture.

Government should not approve Unitech’s deal.

I read in Mint today that the telecom ministry came out with a press release to respond to the flak it is facing for selling spectrum so cheap. I believe there is an attempt to cover up a planned effort to favour a group of companies. Since none of the ministers like the finance ministers are saying anything, it means that they all knew what was going on. How it is possible that a number opf people applied just before the government decided to allot spectrum on first come first serve basis and that too at 2001 prices. I also cannot believe that this scam has happened without the UPA government knowing about it. If Minister Raja has done this without the other people in the cabinet knowing about then it is a fit case for Minister Raja to be sacked. This clearly suggests that he is incapable of handling the complex issue of the spectrum and where government assets which huge value is involved.

Finally, Economic Times gets it right as well as wrong

Finally, Economic Times (ET) gets it right as well as wrong. What did it get right?

Govt gives spectrum for peanuts. Unitech hits jackpot.

I normally read the business papers in the morning and the general newspapers in the evening. Yesterday, in the morning I read about Unitech selling 60% stake in its telecom venture for $1 billion to Telenor ASA and I started writing this post in the evening. Yesterday, none of the business newspapers had commented on the this story from the perspective of the tremendous loss to the government and the profit that Unitech made from this sale. So I started writing my post to comment on this yesterday evening but didn’t complete it. However, when I went home I found an interesting articles in Times of India by Shalini Singh on the similar lines that I was writing this post. I must praise Shalini for hitting the nail on the head. But what I still find surprising that none of the business papers have discussed the issue and none of the newspapers have made a hue and cry about the profit that Unitech has made at the expense of the government. Let me explain what I am talking about.

Airtel wants to be like Toyota

I recently read an article in ET in which its CEO & Joint MD Manoj Kohli was profiled. It seems that Manoj Kohli’s dream is to make Bharti Airtel the Toyota of the telecom industry.

Vodafone also cheats according to its customers

I thought that maybe it was Airtel alone which bills its customers without their orders but Vodafone does it too. This is evident from the email that I received from a harassed customer, Jigar Goks. The contents of the email given below are self explanatory.

How Airtel is making money?

Telecom companies in India have found a new way to sell. Whenever they are short on their sales or profit targets, they just bill you for services not ordered by you.

Do not call registry

Sometime back, I had mentioned in one of my blogs that why are we, as a customer, asked to register our names and telephones to stop getting calls which are an invasion of privacy as well as illegal. According to law, unsolicited calls are illegal. The court has also fined the telecom companies as well the association of mobile operators. I felt that it should be other way round, that is, whichever customer wants to receive calls should register their names and telephone numbers. Now this is what the Supreme Court has also suggested.

Numbers portability – Why the delay?

I have been hearing about government bringing in number portability so that we can change our telecom service provider without changing our numbers for a long time now. I cannot understand the delay. Even though, TRAI has recommended the same long time back, it seems that nothing is happening. It seems that the issue is on the back burner with the Ministry of Telecom for reasons unknown. The latest update is that it may take more than a year. I am not sure if it will happen in one year now.