Reliance Jio in response to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Consultation Paper on “Reforming the Guidelines for Transfer/Merger of Telecom Licenses” said that there was no need to provide mandatory access to MVNOs in DoT M&A guidelines and asked TRAI to maintain a light-touch approach.
Jio’s comments to TRAI were accessed by OnlyTech. In response to TRAI’s question on reforms needed in existing guidelines Jio said that it should be clarified in Clause 3.g that the condition of market share for access services in respective service area of the resultant entity is up to 50% is only applicable when the acquired company and the acquirer individually have market share less than 50% in the service area.
In case both have a market share higher than 50% in the service area before the merger/transfer of license then the same should be allowed to be maintained as the market share of the merged entity and not be mandated to be reduced to 50%.
It suggested maintaining the present provisions in guidelines, relating to the addressing of pending dues/demands from licenses as they are adequate. It will protect the interest of the licensor and provide clarity/transparency to the merged entity in conducting future operations.
Jio pushed for no provisioning of mandatory access to MVNOs in DoT guidelines. It said that the current policy framework ensures an optimum level of competition in the sector while restricting any single player from abusing its market power and hence allowing level playing field for other players.
Jio said that mandatory access to MVNOs wasn’t required to maintain healthy competition in the sector. The consolidation in the sector over the last few years had led the remaining players to heavily invest to upgrade their infrastructure and maintain a competitive edge over others.
It called for the retention of provision for TSPs to engage with MVNO which is already in place in the current regulatory framework. It recommended that the regulator should maintain a light touch approach and not introduce any provision of mandatory access to MVNOs.
The company said that there were no changes required in the provisions of unified licenses so as to make them unambiguous and offered no other suggestions on the subject.