Tata Teleservices (TTSL) today withdrew from the core membership of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the powerful industry body of GSM operators, calling it "undemocratic, biased, non-transparent and unethical.''
"We have found that COAI is not a transparent association and represents the views of only a few selected old players, as all powers / rights are vested in their hands," TTSL said in a letter to Rajan Mathews, director general of COAI.
In what is being seen as a declaration of war against the largest telecom association, the COAI in the country, Tata Teleservices' managing director Anil Sardana said the association was waging a ''wilful'' campaign to ''subvert'' the regulator's recommendation on spectrum pricing aimed at levelling the playing field for all competitors.
According to analysts, the attack lays bare the divide in the association with TTSL and other Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) holders such as Loop Telecom , Etilasat DB, Uninor and STel on one side ranged against the older, established, operators - Bharti, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular on the other.
The Tata broadside has revealed the gaping schism in the premier association coming as it does on the heels of COAI's decision just a few days earlier to suspend the voting rights of three members, TTSL, Etisalat DB and Loop Telecom on grounds of default in payment of legal dues, owed to the association.
According to the dissident members of the association, they have refused to pay legal dues for cases being fought against them as CDMA players (COAI members offer predominantly GSM service, compared to the rival Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India), or on which they have a different opinion.