That India's largest mobile operator, Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), decided to issue a statement on the matter isn't that surprising. (See Bharti Needs More Data Drive and India Passes 500M Mobile Mark.)
What is unusual, though, is the forthright language deployed: The carrier is clearly outraged.
Here's what Bharti has to say (in an emailed statement) about the TRAI's ideas:
The latest recommendations by the TRAI for allocation of 2G spectrum are shocking, arbitrary and retrograde. They overturn all existing policies of Department of Telecommunications for the last 15 years, recommendations made by various government committees and even TRAI’s own earlier recommendations. Besides, these are against all existing global norms for spectrum allocation and efficiency.
It seems that the recommendations are designed to punish efficient and performing operators like us for contributing to the growth of Indian telecom sector and are instead tailor made to benefit select operators whose contribution to telecom growth and government revenues have been negligible.
Over the years, operators like us have brought services at the lowest tariffs in the world, to the door steps of the common man and connected 85 percent of India’s population, including 4.4 lakh [440,000] villages. We have invested over Rs. 70,000 crores [700 billion Indian rupees/US$15.52 billion] to build networks and services and have contributed thousand of crores to the exchequer in form of license, spectrum fee and other levies. In terms of spectrum charges, we have contributed up to 10 times more per Mhz than many other operators.
While the world looks at India’s telecom growth story with awe and attempts to emulate India’s telecom business model, it is sad to note that the recommendations attempt to pull down a sector that is one of the biggest contributors to India's economic and social development and showcase of India’s economic reforms process.
We are confident that the DoT and the Government will take a rational approach and summarily reject these arbitrary, impractical and perverse recommendations.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading