Tata Teleservices in response to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Consultation Paper on “Reforming the Guidelines for Transfer/Merger of Telecom Licenses” has suggested a time period to be followed by the DoT to simplify and fast track mergers and transfer of Telecom licenses.
TTL said that in case of a merger the acquired company should be allowed to retain spectrum for a specified period post-merger to migrate active subscribers to the resultant entity. Levies like SUC would be payable for an extended period. It recommended a period of 3 months for the complete subscriber migration.
It pointed out that as per the existing guidelines, the spectrum which is not being transferred to a resultant entity should be surrendered back to DoT which leads to discontinuity of service and inconvenience to the customer.
TTL also suggested that the list of outstanding demands should be taken as of the date, DoT issues first in-principle approval, which is submitted to NCLT. The list shouldn’t be kept open with DoT provided 30 days time period to take on record the merger. If not completed in time, the merger should be deemed to have been taken on record.
It also suggested the manner of executing it.
- Conditional approval within 3 days of submission of NCLT order by a licensee.
- Any objection within 5 working days of the receipt of conditional approval by the licensee.
- If TDSAT orders DoT to take a merger on record and DoT wants to challenge it the same has to happen within 10 days of order.
- If DoT files appeal against TDSAT order it should inform licensee within 5 days the grounds on which it is moving ahead with the appeal.
It also said that any language used by the court which stops DoT from enforcing immediate payment should be treated as a stay. It also said there should be no OTSC demands for which Bank Guarantee has to be provided.
On provisioning, mandatory access to MVNOs in M&A guidelines TTL said that it should be dealt with separate consultation and may not need to be part of CP of M&A. On changes required in the provisions of the unified license, TTL said each telecom operator has been allocated resources that are common for both mobility as well as wireline or enterprise business. SP and SCP codes are used for both mobility as well as wireline and/or enterprise business.
In case of a partial merger, where only the mobility business is demerged and merged with other companies, TTL called for the provision to be made to segregate the common resources and especially MW to be available with access licensee including wireline.
In its closing comments, TTL said that the final order on the merger must specify the details of resources being transferred to the resultant entity and the ones being retained by the transferor company and what is being surrendered to DoT.
As there is no clarity on the transfer of MW resources in case of merger of mobility business, TTL is of the view that the resultant entity should have First Right of Refusal on all MW resources subject meeting terms and conditions laid down by the DoT. The MW carriers allocated to the transferor (company to be acquired) should not be de-linked from the process of M&A.