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Tariffs have stabilised, regulatory concerns remain: Sunil Mittal

Within days of hiking charges for pre-paid mobile services, Bharti airtel has said that tariffs have "stabilised" but raised concerns over regulatory uncertainties.

twitter-logoPTI | August 1, 2011 | Updated 17:43 IST

Within days of hiking charges for pre-paid mobile services, Bharti airtel has said that tariffs have "stabilised" but raised concerns over regulatory uncertainties.

"Tariffs have stabilised ensuring return of reasonable growth for us," Sunil Mittal , the Chairman and Managing Director of India's largest telecom operator airtel, said in his message to shareholders.

He, however, expressed concern over the persisting uncertainty over regulatory regime especially with regard to allocation and pricing of 2G spectrum including on the excess spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz held by old service providers.

"... although a fair amount of regulatory uncertainty still pervades the air with regard to allocation and pricing of 2G spectrum, the principal stakeholders (government, operators and Trai) appear to be heading towards some sort of a consensus on key issues," Mittal said in the annual report of the company for the year 2010-11.

He, in fact, said that 2010-11 fiscal was marked as a year of uncertain regulatory environment, with 2G licence allotment taking centrestage as a political agenda.

"It is our profound hope that the next round of policy making will ensure a sustainable growth path and a fair regulatory regime," Mittal said.

On the proposed National Telecom Policy 2011, Mittal feels that it will help in stabilising the regulatory environment in the country.

"The policy will aim at affordability and sustainability in the telecom sector," he said.

Besides India, the company provides telecommunication services in 18 African and South Asian countries. The company served 220.9 million customers as on March 31, 2011.

For India, Mittal feels that it will "continue to be the leading market in our portfolio. Hyper competition in the market with 12-13 players, is clearly abating. Some semblance of sanity is being restored and consolidation is imminent."

Going forward, Bharti feels that Indian telecom market holds large untapped potential in the rural areas.

"With majority of the population yet to get access to telecommunication and rural teledensity still at 33.8 per cent there is significant growth potential for the sector," Mittal added.

Bharti airtel put up a strong performance in 2010-11. The company entered the league of global telcos by completing the acquisition of Zain Group's mobile operations in 15 countries across Africa in 2010.

The company later on acquired Telecom Seychelles expanding overall presence to 19 countries across the globe.

The company reported net income of Rs 6,046.7 crore for the full year ended March 31, 2011, with a y-o-y decline of 33 per cent due to increase in net finance charges.


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