Idea Joins TRAI's Critics

9:20 AM -- India's mobile operators continue to vent their anger at the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) 's new proposals for 2G spectrum allocation. (See TRAI Mulls New 2G, M&A Rules.)

Market leader Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) issued a stinging rebuke to the regulator earlier this week, and now Idea Cellular Ltd. has pitched in. (See Bharti Airtel Slams Indian Regulator.)

"For too long, the telecom sector policy has variously displayed characteristics of quota raj, licence permit raj and an SSI mindset, conveying unfortunately impressions of crony capitalism," noted the operator in a prepared statement. (See Idea Cellular Criticizes TRAI.)

Vodafone India has also commented, describing the proposals as "opaque, illogical and discriminatory."

The reaction is not surprising, as the likes of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar would, under the TRAI recommendations, face a one-time fee of around $700 million for spectrum they are already using, notes The Times of India.

The proposals have provoked unprecedented criticism of TRAI. Now the government's Department of Telecommunications must decide whether it supports the regulator's proposals.

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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