In a first step towards crafting an exit policy for telecom operators in the crowded Indian telecom market, the sector regulator on Friday issued a pre-consultation paper inviting views from stakeholders for drafting guidelines for companies seeking to exit the sector.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked the industry to give its comments and views before 16 January.
This is a first step to proposing an exit policy for those who want to move out from the Indian telecom space, which has as many as 14 players.
There is currently no exit policy for telecom operators, though sector observers say some of them are itching to get out. These are mainly the newer entrants in the market – like Loop, Videocon and others - who received mobile permits in 2008, but have been unable to garner profitable subscriber numbers or revenues.
The new TRAI policy will look at various issues; perhaps most importantly whether partial or complete surrender of spectrum would be allowed. Other issues include the time-frame for exit, the methodology for shifting customers from one operator to another, partial or full refund of entry fee, release of bank guarantees and settling the liabilities of the operator.