COAI said the roaming arrangements have helped subscribers of operators who have not received 3G spectrum to enjoy high speed data services and also to meet the objectives of encouraging efficient spectrum utilisation and promoting broadband penetration to citizens
New Delhi: Under scrutiny for entering into illegal roaming agreement for third generation (3G) mobile services, Cellular Operators Association (COAI)—the lobby of GSM operators—on Tuesday said that any changes in it would deprive users of enjoying seamless high-speed data services, reports PTI.
In July this year, in an effort to reduce cost and offer pan-India 3G services, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular had entered into roaming agreement to serve their respective customers in circles in which they (operators) had failed to get 3G spectrum in the auction last year.
This would help operators offer 3G services to customers in circles where they cannot build their own 3G network as they do not have the licence.
Airtel, Aircel and RCom each owns 3G spectrum licence in 13 of the 22 telecom circles, while Vodafone has it in 10 circles and Idea and the Tatas in nine circles.
COAI has written to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman JS Sarma saying prior to the 3G/BWA auctions, the Department of Telecom (DoT) had made it clear that “3G/BWA auction is for grant of spectrum and not for grant of licence to provide 3G or BWA services”.
Telecom regulator TRAI had sought information from service providers on their bilateral agreements for entering into 3G roaming pacts, to ensure that there is no violation of licence terms and conditions.
The DoT had also raised doubts over 3G roaming pacts of companies, which are not having 3G services on pan-India basis.
In an internal note, the DoT had clarified that a UASL (unified access service licence) licencee cannot offer 3G services, declare a tariff plan or acquire customers in a circle it hasn’t been allocated 3G spectrum in.
COAI has contended that a Unified Access Service (UAS) License is technology neutral access service license which allows the provision of all type of access services.
DoT in its note had said under the licence conditions, a licencee providing services has to have its own network. “At present, mandatory roaming or MVNOs are not part of the government’s telecom policy,” it had added.
The lobby said the roaming arrangements have helped subscribers of operators who have not received 3G spectrum to enjoy high speed data services and also to meet the objectives of encouraging efficient spectrum utilisation and promoting broadband penetration to citizens.
This has also resulted in additional revenue from the roaming subscriber and additional revenue share for the government as well.
COAI said any disallowance of intra-circle roaming will be substantial reversal of DoT’s stated position on the issue and a “reinterpretation of the fundamental nature of the technology neutral UASL structure”.
It has requested also TRAI to share a copy of its report which has been submitted to the DoT.
“Whether it would be a rights issue, preferential or QIP route... it is still not decided. But one thing has been confirmed through the finance secretary that the bank would be adequately capitalised by 2012,” SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri said
Ahmedabad: The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) on Tuesday said the finance ministry has given an assurance that the bank would be adequately capitalised by March 2012, but it has not yet decided on the route it will take for the same, reports PTI.
“Whether it would be a rights issue, preferential or QIP route... it is still not decided,” SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told reporters here.
“But one thing has been confirmed through the finance secretary that the bank would be adequately capitalised by 2012,” he said.
The government is the largest shareholder of the SBI with an equity stake of 59.4%.
“Our issue is that the government has to take a call what level of ownership it wants to maintain in the bank. If it wants to have 59.4% stake in SBI, then it would be a rights issue,” he added.
“If it (the stake) is to be raised from the level of 59.4%, then it would be a preferential issue and if it has to be lowered, then it has to be through a QIP issue,” Mr Chaudhuri said.
SBI had reported a Tier-I capital adequacy ratio of 7.60% as of June 2011 against the suggested level of 8%.
It is said that such a low Tier-I capital ratio provides an insufficient cushion to support growth and to absorb potentially higher credit costs arising from deteriorating asset quality.
“Our tier-I capital had dropped to 7.6% against desired requirement of 8%...
“We need to grow and in doing that we need to increase our tier-I and the government of India is convinced,” he said while replying to a query on the necessity for re-capitalisation.
“We have presented all our options to the government, but it has its own process of decision making,” he said.
SBI had raised over Rs16,000 crore through a rights issue in 2008. The government’s contribution was in the form of bonds to the bank instead of cash.
The government of India proposes to provide a sum of Rs6,000 crore to enable the public sector banks to maintain a minimum Tier I Capital to Risk Weighted Asset Ratio (CRAR) at 8% this fiscal.
Last year, the capital infusion budget of the government was Rs20,157 crore.
“To put things in perspective after downgrading, we are at the same level as PNB, BOI or any other PSU bank and also equal to some of the leading banks in China like China Construction Bank,” SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri informed media persons
Ahmedabad: Country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) today said Moody’s downgrade rating has not impacted it global expansion plans much and it would continue to expand its branch network both domestic and internationally over the next two years, reports PTI.
Last month, global credit ratings firm Moody had downgraded SBI’s financial strength by one notch to ‘D+’ from ‘C-’ on account of its low tier-I (equity) capital ratio and deteriorating asset quality.
“To put things in perspective after downgrading, we are at the same level as PNB, BOI or any other PSU bank and also equal to some of the leading banks in China like China Construction Bank,” SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told reporters here.
“So, that has not impacted us much. What we are looking at expansion is whether the markets offer us opportunities.
Right now we are opening a branch in Saudi Arabia and one in Qatar from where opportunity of remittances is high,” he said.
“Next we are looking at countries like Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Chaudhuri said.
“On an average 40-50 overseas branches shall be opened over next two years. On large scale, SBI's new branches shall be opened in Nepal, besides Australia, New Zealand, for which we have retail banking licenses,” Mr Chaudhuri said.
“The bank plans to open eight new branches in London by 2012 as every two months a new branch shall be opening and four in Bangladesh also,” he said.
SBI now operates with a network of 165 overseas branches spanning across 34 countries.
“We shall be opening 500 to 1,000 branches in the country, besides installing 10,000 ATMs over the next two years,” Mr Chaudhuri said.
SBI now operates with a network of around 13,500 branches across the country.
“On an average 750 new branches and around 5,000 ATMs per year shall be opened in the country,” Mr Chaudhuri said.
On a visit to Gujarat to address the chief general managers (CGMs) conclave, Mr Chaudhuri met thirty senior executives of the bank, including CGMs of 14 different circle and 13 CGMs from its corporate business wing to take stock of the current scenario and take feedback on future strategies.