DoT questions TDSAT jurisdiction to hear telcos’ plea on 3G

Terming the inter-circle roaming pacts among telecom service providers for 3G services in areas where they do not have the designated spectrum as ‘illegal’, the government had issued notices to five players to stop such services immediately

New Delhi: The telecom ministry today questioned the jurisdiction of the Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on entertaining the petitions of five telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, challenging the government's directive to stop third generation (3G) roaming agreements, reports PTI.

Additional solicitor general (ASG) AS Chandiok appearing for the Department of Telecom (DoT) told the tribunal that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the petitions which are altering the terms of telecom licence.

Terming the inter-circle roaming pacts among telecom service providers for 3G services in areas where they do not have the designated spectrum as ‘illegal’, the government had issued notices to five players to stop such services immediately.

The operators—Bharti, Vodafone, Idea, Tatas and Aircel—had challenged the government’s decision in the TDSAT.

The ASG said that in its recent judgement the Supreme Court has said that the tribunal cannot entertain the petition which is altering the licence conditions.

On this the tribunal asked the government to file a separate application in this regard. The ASG said, “It would be filed today only.”

Further, the tribunal asked the operators to file replies of the new coming application questioning its jurisdiction by Friday this week and directed to list the matter on Monday (9th January) for the next hearing.

Meanwhile, state-owned BSNL today requested to implead into this ongoing dispute and make it a party in the suit.

Additional Solicitor General AS Tankha appearing for BSNL submitted that that PSU is going to be affected very largely by the outcome of its hearing and it should be heard. He also submitted that an application in this regard would be filed today only.

On this, the TDSAT chairman justice SB Sinha said it should be decided only after deciding on the preliminary objections raised by the DoT.

During the proceedings Mr Chandiok submitted that operators have still not complied with the interim order of TDSAT dated 24th December directing them to handover the copies of their 3G roaming agreements.

The operators said that they were asked to hand over their agreements only to the tribunal and not to the DoT.

The operators said that they have already submitted their agreements in a seal cover before the tribunal.

However, the tribunal said that such agreements submitted by the operators can be inspected by DoT through its counsel.

Yesterday, in a strong rebuttal to telecom operators on the issue of 3G roaming, the government had alleged that service providers have not come with clean hands and that they have suppressed material documents before telecom tribunal TDSAT.

Filing an affidavit before the TDSAT, the DoT had requested the tribunal to dismiss the petition of telecom operators challenging the government directive to stop 3G roaming immediately.

DoT had on 23 December 2011 issued notices to telecom companies saying their 3G roaming pacts were illegal and should be stopped immediately within 24 hours.

Operators—Bharti, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel and Tatas—challenged DoT’s decision before the TDSAT on the same day.

User

What is the value of a ‘brand’, lately, anyway?

The ‘market’ has a way of factoring in the brand value, so to include an add-on component in the books is in effect taking a charge on the same asset twice, and that is dishonesty in any language

If the accounting firms of the world are to be believed, then the value of a ‘brand’ cannot only be estimated in terms of cash values, but can also be entered on bottomlines and in balance sheets. Taking this one logical step forward, this bit of magic can then be sold as close to the hard fact to otherwise sceptical bankers, That these are more or less, with some changes in their own brand names, the same accounting firms responsible for wonderful valuations like the ones on Enron or closer home Satyam, is not missed out by most.
 
But regardless, the juggernaut of “brand value” rolls on, regardless.
 
For example, the “brand value” of Coca-Cola used to top the charts till 3-4 years ago, but has recently seen the rankings notch down to the higher teens, while the ‘value’ itself appears to have lost about 20% of its bubble in that time period. These are in scores of billions of dollars, by the way, and separate from valuations on ‘goodwill’, and both of these find their way on to balance sheets of listed companies, Seldom, however, will you see them discussed by analysts or at the meetings which make or break markets.
 
Here in India, Kingfisher’s brand value was estimated to be at around Rs4,000 crore, as estimated by Grant Thornton—which value was acceptable to banks in India led by State Bank of India (SBI)—and that was then used as collateral for, you guessed it right, a loan of a higher amount. The same valuation is, however, not applied when a successful public sector undertaking is hived off in the name of liberalisation or privatisation. How much, for example, would the brand value of Maruti have been, and why was it not applied over and above the numbers then achieved?
 
The ‘market’ has a way of factoring in the brand value, so to include an add-on component in the books is in effect taking a charge on the same asset twice, and that is dishonesty in any language. Investors are advised to look at balance sheets carefully for tell-tale signs like this on the asset side.

(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved actively in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves. Mr Malik had a career in the Merchant Navy which he left in 1983, has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, a love for travel, and an active participation in print and electronic media as an alternate core competency, all these and more.)

User

Auto Expo 2012: A curtain raiser and visitor’s advisory

This year’s Auto Expo promises to be one interesting experience. The theme for Auto Expo 2012 is ‘green’, which is all very good, considering the smog and haze-laden Delhi

A few hours ago I booked my ticket for the Auto Expo 2012 online, all of Rs200 worth which will hopefully entitle me to entry at Pragati Maidan in Delhi on Saturday the 7 January 2012, without much fuss and demur. I say ‘hopefully’, because the experiences people had in the 2010 version of the Auto Expo make the Gurgaon New Year’s riots look tame.

The organisers at Auto Expo 2012, along with the authorities, appear to be trying to take no chances this time around, by restricting entry to the first 1 lakh people every day, which is about half the number that officially entered the fair grounds last time around—the actual number by way of unofficial entries, hanger-ons, VIPs, and more, would easily be more. In addition, the 1 lakh cap appears to be an arbitrary number, includes participants and officials, so there is no idea on how this will relate to visitors.

I have been visiting the Auto Expo on ‘PRESS’ passes since the inception, and therefore been spared most of the issues faced by visitors, but this time around, due to the rather complicated and time-consuming process as well as fairly blatant expectations of what reportage should be like, I choose to visit it on my own steam. Let us see how it pans out. In any case, the ‘PRESS’ experience is increasingly like a PR sponsored guided tour, lately.

Even with tickets bought in advance, if indications are to be believed, entry is not guaranteed. In addition, the fine print in the “terms and conditions” for the booking service online makes it clear that they are not responsible for any damages or any loss resulting from “inability to use the services”. In other words, if the organisers decide to shut the gates, that’s it—regardless of whether you have a ticket or pass or not. Safety is supreme—and rightly so.

So, if you want to visit the Auto Expo 2012, you need to get your entry formalities in place early—and then land up there even earlier before they put a cap on entries. In addition, most of the launch functions and special events are being held starting the 4th of January onwards, while public entry starts on the 7th.

The theme for this year’s Auto Expo is ‘green’, which is all very good, the display of new generation alternate fuel vehicles like the Audi-3 E-Tron, the Mahindra Reva NXR, the Nissan Leaf and others are surely welcome in smog and haze laden Delhi. But the larger buzz, as always, appears to be reserved for the usual smorgasbord of big engine supercars, superbikes and SUVs. Of which there are far too many to list out—but one honourable mention needs go to the home-grown supercar from DC in Mumbai. That will be essential viewing.

Likewise, the smaller component and accessory stalls, as well as speciality displays of customisation and more, hold an appeal which is often missed out in the glamour and hype of the larger pavilions from manufacturers. They are also less crowded, the exhibitors are mostly genuinely pleased to greet and show visitors their wares, and the atmosphere is more, how do we put it, Indian?

By contrast, the larger pavilions are certainly eminent displays of brilliance and new technology, on wheels and otherwise, but the often surly and condescending attitude towards visitors during public hours can be a put off. My take here to the exhibitors is this—you have come to India to sell your motor vehicles to people, not to a market. Our buyers like to touch, feel, squeeze and analyse the product thoroughly. They will therefore expect to be permitted to do the same. Live with it.

For me, the most interesting and lately most important part of this exhibition has always been the one pertaining to public transport and goods vehicles, especially in view of the extremely high growth envisaged in both these sectors in the coming years. In addition to the new buses and trucks on display, there are going to be some even more interesting displays and discussion on issues like toll collection, inter-state movement of trucks, inter-modal movement of unitised and break-bulk cargo, and long-distance buses.

But the really important part, if trends are to be believed, will be the further emergence of the mini and micro-mini trucks and people movers—and in this, the Chinese influence is to be seen to be believed—silently but inexorably making progress while the media focus and bright arc lights are on the luxury sector.

All in all, this year’s Auto Expo promises to be one interesting experience, like the ones before—but what a long way we’ve come since people came there in their lakhs to gawk at the early Marutis!!

However, do buy your tickets in advance, and be at the gates early.

More details, including on how to book tickets in advance online, are available at:
http://www.autoexpo.in/

(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved actively in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves. Mr Malik had a career in the Merchant Navy which he left in 1983, qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, a love for travel, and an active participation in print and electronic media as an alternate core competency, all these and more.)

User

COMMENTS

Siddharth

5 years ago

Hi Veeresh,
I am interested in the yamaha BWs. Please provide your take on the bike and its availabitlity.

malq

5 years ago

Quick update - Bajaj Auto have launched their 4-wheeled quadricycle, the RE-60, a short while ago. Looks like an ungainly ugly duckling, therefore it may sell (!!), and is loosely based on their RE-3wheeler, with a similar 200cc 4-stroke petrol engine.

In addition, both HM/Ambassador and Fiat are not taking part at AutoExpo 2012, so that signals curtains at this break in tradition from two of the oldest manufacturers in India . . .

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