Monday, May 24, 2010

India - Minister claims he is targetted because he broke the "cartel" of operators

[financial express] Communications and information technology minister A Raja on Monday said 2G spectrum allocation was done in accordance with regulations framed by the Union government.

He further clarified that there would be no re-auction of 2G spectrum as well. “We strictly went by those rules and recommendations of Trai. I am being targeted only because I broke the cartel in the telecom sector,” he said during the sidelines at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) 2010, in Hyderabad. Raja said that he was ready to face any investigation into the alleged scandal in allocation of 2G spectrum.

Reacting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assertion that action would be initiated at any level if corruption is proven, Raja said, “It is universal truth that action will be taken against anyone found guilty (of corruption). I am ready for any investigation but such an inquiry should get to the root of the issue.”

“The recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on 2G spectrum is currently under review of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and finance ministry and is expected to be placed before the Telecom Commission soon,’’ he said. 2G spectrum will allow the winner companies to offer high-speed internet access as well as internet telephony and television services and can also be used for voice and high-speed data services.

Ruling out any controversy, he said that 2G cannot be compared to 3G as 2G is like PDS rice while 3G is Basmati rice, and any changes suggested by telecom commission, which are not there in the current system, there is always a scope to consider for implementing those changes.

Meanwhile, the Centre is hoping revenue of Rs 15,000 crore from the auction of airwaves for broadband wireless access (BWA) services, which is necessary for rolling out worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) services and enable hand-held devices and laptops access the internet.

On the 3G licence fee payment by mobile telecom operators, Raja said, so far none has approached the ministry seeking extension of deadline, which is ending on May 31. “However, if there are requests, we will discuss and look in to it,” he said.

I’m targeted because I broke the telecom cartel: Raja

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