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Govt strikes down BSNL request for Delhi, Mumbai licence

Government has struck down Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd's request for licence to operate in Mumbai and Delhi circles.

"BSNL had sought licence for entering Delhi and Mumbai and the request has not been agreed to", Minister of State for Communications and IT Shakeel Ahmed told Lok Sabha today in a written reply.

News Courtesy : Outlook

Govt may buy back MTNL shares to pave way for merger with BSNL

Government is cosidering buying back MTNL's shares from the market as one of the options to pave the way for its merger with another telecom PSU, BSNL, which is not listed on the bourses. This was discussed during a recent meeting chaired by the Communication and IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran along with two other options like creating a holding company for both the PSUs or offloading about five per cent of BSNL's equity in the market, official sources said.

Buying back of MTNL's shares from the market means that Government would have to delist from the bourses to make it a 100 per cent subsidiary of Government like BSNL. By making MTNL a 100 per cent Government subsidiary the Government may be trying to remove the legal hurdles that may arise as a result of merger of a listed company MTNL with the unlisted BSNL. This was just one of the options being discussed, sources said adding, that no banker or advisor had so far been appointed to look into the pros and cons as well as methodology of  the merger between MTNL and BSNL. Everything is being discussed internally within the departments. If this materialises, sources said, government may have to shell out more money  to buy back MTNL's shares as the share price may move upwards. The other two options were also being considered especially offloading five per cent of BSNL's equity in the market to know the valuation of BSNL.

News Courtesy : Outlook

TRAI chief dismisses Reliance's protest on broadband

Telecom Regulatory Authority Chairman Pradip Baijal today dismissed as "nothing exceptional" the protest by Reliance Infocomm against the regulator's recommendations to allow DTH and VSAT operators to offer broadband services. "This kind of protest is nothing exceptional," Baijal told PTI when asked about the reports quoting Reliance spokesperson alleging that TRAI had played into the hands of DTH operators like Tatas in policy suggestions. Reiterating TRAI's commitment to promote competition in the larger interest of consumers, Baijal said "during the course of regulation, interests of many industrial houses get affected and they protest against regulation. "It had happened in the WLL issue when cellular company Bharti protested or Tatas' opposition in the case of international private leased circuits (to provide bandwidth)," he added. A Reliance Infocomm spokesperson was today quoted in news reports as saying that the regulator had played into the hands of DTH operators and had recommended policies which were totally loaded in favour of DTH and VSAT operators. "Some of the concessions are even tantamount to encroachment upon the national long distance service providers who had paid huge licence fees. This will definitely disturb the present level playing field," the Reliance spokeserson was quoted. When contacted by PTI, the Reliance Infocomm spokesperson said from Mumbai on phone that the company had not written anything to TRAI and they were not against any technology in broadband operations. Recognising broadband as the next telecom revolution, TRAI had said last month that prices of high-speed internet of 256 kbps should be brought down to about Rs 400 per month from the existing Rs 1,600 and suggested entry of DTH and other players for competition in broadband services.

News Courtesy : Outlook

MTNL, BSNL not to be privatised

The Government today announced that the telecom policy would be revamped soon to give more economic service to consumers and said no to privatisation of profit-making MTNL and BSNL even as new Telecom and IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran outlined a 10-point agenda to make India a global IT power. Within minutes of assuming office, Maran, flanked by his junior Shakeel Ahmad, committed to more public investment in the sector while promising "increased competition" to counter pressures from industrial houses. "No. MTNL is off, I repeat, off the privatisation list," Maran said adding that even BSNL would not be privatised.

News Courtesy : Outlook

Bharti to acquire Shyam's 67.5% stake in Hexacom for Rs 430 cr

Bharti announced today it would acquire majority stake in Hexacom, a cellular operator in Rajasthan, in a cash-cum-share swap deal of Rs 430 crore, as part of its initiative to expand.

News Courtesy : Outlook

MTNL simplifies commercial procedures

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has rolled out an array of additional customer-friendly initiatives, which include simplification of commercial rules and procedures and waiving of dynamic lock resetting facility charges. The company would provide "free" application forms for STD public call offices and would not ask for an affidavit for proof of residence before providing a connection. The telephony major has also made dynamic lock resetting facility "free", which was earlier charged at Rs 50 per user. The telecom major had earlier reduced its installation charges for new telephone connections to Rs 500 from Rs 800, effective April one.

News Courtesy : Outlook