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‘100% rural coverage in next 2 years’: J S Sarma speaks to HT

Soon after TRAI released its recommendations, its chairman J S Sarma spoke to Hindustan Times.

business Updated: May 11, 2010 22:50 IST
Manoj Gairola
Manoj Gairola
Hindustan Times

Why price 2G spectrum at this time?
Spectrum is a scarce national resource and we want that operators should use it efficiently. Price is a function of efficient use.

Why link it to 3G price?
Because, the characteristics of 3G spectrum are same as that of 2G. Having said that, we also recognise that we will study pricing factor further.

What’s the point of new M&A guidelines?
We have 12 to 14 players or licence holders in a service area. We are also in a situation where spectrum is not available for all. Therefore, we say that merger route is available and the choice is that of an operator. With these guidelines, we’ve made merging easier. But it comes at a price. We have ensured the government realises the full value of spectrum in case an operator is not offering services on his own.

Why bring in roll out obligations, given that DoT had earlier done away with it?
We go back to the principle of efficient utilisation of spectrum. When we allot spectrum, we expect that the entire area is covered. Right now, roll out is urban-centric. In many villages there is only one operator. I believe communication is important for rural development. I want 100 per cent rural coverage in next two years.

First Published: May 11, 2010 22:45 IST