Networks hope to acquire more users, spectrum

February 3rd, 2012 - 5:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) A day after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 telecom licenses, most of the old telecom networks were cautiously optimistic Friday about garnering more users and acquiring extra spectrum.

A leading player even went to the extent of saying that everybody was welcome on its network.

Vodafone, the country’s third largest operator by subscriber base, launched a promotion campaign in newspapers with the tagline — Everybody’s welcome to the network that you can depend upon — asking customers to switch over to its network using the mobile number portability (MNP) service.

Telecom regulator TRAI has said that following the court ruling Thursday that it would see that interests of affected operators’ subscribers are protected. It has also said that those users who want to switch can avail the MNP service.

About 50 million customers are expected to be left unserviced once the licenses of the affected firms such as Idea Cellular, Uninor and Tata Teleservices are cancelled.

Other players, when contacted, said they were hopeful and were watching the situation as it evolved.

About the opportunities that lie ahead, Mahesh Uppal, telecom analyst and director of consultancy firm Com First India, said Bharti Airtel would be benefited the most as there was no legal challenge to its licenses.

“Airtel, the market leader, stands to benefit most among existing players since the ruling affects none of its nationwide licenses. Vodafone’s situation is similar too,” Uppal told IANS.

“Incumbents faced reduced access to spectrum earlier. They will welcome the auction of more spectrum,” he added.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, when contacted by IANS, declined to say anything definite.

Reliance Communications said it had no immediate plans of launching a media campaign, but would wait and observe the market.

“We do not have any immediate campaigns. Nothing has been planned as yet as the issue is pretty raw,” said a company executive.

The Supreme Court has said that status quo will be maintained for four months, after which the government would conduct a fresh auction.

Idea Cellular, whose nine licenses issued in 2008 have been cancelled, still holds licenses in 15 circles.

Asked if the company would soon start afresh with their much talked about — No Idea, Get Idea — campaign, a representative said: “We are not encashing on any opportunity but obviously would like to ensure that we are in a position to secure our investments and our customers.”

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