NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister's Office had in 2008 referred to DoT a letter of an MP complaining of "oligarchic conditions" in the telecom industry where four existing players were "fixing" the rules and controlling it, ex-TRAI chairman, Nripendra Mishra today told a Delhi court hearing the 2G spectrum allocation scam case.
"The MP had observed, inter alia, (in the letter) on the oligarchic conditions prevailing in the telecom industry. He had also observed that three-four operators were controlling the industry," he said adding he was not sure whether the four companies referred were Vodafone, Airtel, Idea or Aircel.
"In the second paragraph of this letter, it was also complained that existing players have managed to fix the rules, so that new entrants cannot enter. "It was also complained that the threshold for new telecom entrants have been raised to high that no new company can come and offer cheaper services," Mishra, who was deposing as a witness, told Special CBI Judge O P Saini about a letter by Rajya Sabha MP Laljan Basha.
He also said a Lok Sabha MP from Kerala Abdulla Kutty had in 2008 raised the issue of tariff hike by Airtel, Vodafone and Idea on which MRTPC was asked conduct a preliminary investigation. Mishra said the February 17, 2008, letter was referred by PMO to Department of Telecom (DoT) which had forwarded it to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for its comments.
He said Basha, Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh in 2008, had requested the Prime Minister to consider how to reduce the threshold for new entrants.