TRAI report lopsided; no one-time charge for spectrum: Sunil Mittal

TRAI has suggested that operators be charged one-time payment for holding extra spectrum beyond the contractual limit of 6.2 MHz and the same may be linked to the price of 3G spectrum for which auction was held recently

Market leader Bharti Airtel today termed as "lopsided" the report of telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on spectrum charges, saying it was not liable for "one time charges" for the frequency beyond 6.2 MHz, reports PTI.

Demanding a level playing field for the old operators, Bharti group chief Sunil Mittal told PTI, "Our view is that the spectrum given to us and other operators from time to time is under a policy and there is no question of any additional payment for this."
TRAI has suggested that the operators be charged one-time payment for holding extra spectrum beyond the contractual limit of 6.2 MHz and the same may be linked to the price of third generation (3G) spectrum for which auction was held recently.

Mr Bharti, he said, has been paying extra spectrum charges on the additional spectrum for years now and there is no rationale for one-time charge for any spectrum held by the firm.

Asked if he would take up the issue with prime minister Manmohan Singh, he said, "We have written to the regulator and the (telecom) minister. We have also seen the reports that the issue might be referred to an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM). I am very hopeful that justice will be done."

Mr Mittal also slammed the regulator for suggesting that the operators must buy second generation (2G) spectrum at the new price for their next licence period of 20 years as and when their old licences come up for renewal.

With most of Bharti's licences due for renewal in the next 2-3 years the company may have to shell out a whopping up to Rs15,000 crore for renewing its licences and at a time when the new operators have been given the same spectrum at Rs1,650 crore a year ago.

"TRAI has created a lopsided situation. Certain set of operators have got spectrum and they are going to enjoy it for next 20 years at a much lower price and some operators like us will have to pay much higher if TRAI recommendations are accepted," Mr Mittal said.

The company will wait for the renewal policy to be announced by the government. "All that I would say is that whatever is the decision it should be absolutely same, equal and level playing field for all the operators. And that will be acceptable to us," he said.

"You can’t have a difference that one set of operators are paying Rs1,650 crore and others are expected to pay a multiple of that. Spectrum is spectrum whether is lying here or there. If they (government) want to charge a higher price, then they will have to go back and charge all those who got spectrum in 2008 at the same charge," he added.


Environment ministry increases coal mining zone

The decision follows the intervention by the PMO after mining minister Jaiprakash Jaiswal expressed his unhappiness at the environment ministry's move to declare 40 coal blocks under nine collieries as "no-go area" where no mining will be allowed.

Power project developers can now breathe easy as the environment ministry has agreed to increase the "go zone" for coal mining in forest areas by 10% from 344,000 hectares to 380,000 hectares in eight coal blocks in the country, reports PTI.

"Go areas" are the designated zones in forest areas where coal mining is allowed in case they meet the environment clearance.

The decision to increase the go area in coal blocks came following intervention by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) after mining minister Jaiprakash Jaiswal expressed his unhappiness at the environment ministry's decision to declare 40 coal blocks under nine collieries as "no-go area" where no mining will be allowed.

Mr Jaiswal had complained to the PMO that dividing coal fields into "go" and "no-go" area by the environment ministry would result in a massive 600 million tonne annual shortfall in production.

At the intervention of PMO, a joint survey was conducted recently wherein the ministries agreed to settle on 3.8 lakh hectares.

While the environment ministry proposed to put 3.49 lakh hectares into the "go" zone, the coal ministry demanded 4.5 lakh hectares.

However, the Hasdeo-Arand coalfields of Chhattisgarh have been excluded.

The entire field remains firmly in the "no-go" zone in view of its ecological sensitivity.

Also, the new agreement includes some underground mines, which are environmentally preferable to the original strip mining proposals.

"This is for the first time that underground mines have also been specified. We have no problem with such mining," environment minister Jairam Ramesh said recently.

The environment ministry has classified forest land into "go" and "no-go" areas for coal mining firms.

According to the initial classification, the ministry had identified nearly 3,45,000 hectares of land where mining could be carried out, subject to environmental and other clearance. The other areas were “no-go” areas.

"But go areas does not mean clean chit for clearance.

"In such zones, environment nod will be given if green conditions are met. Otherwise it can be no zone as well," Mr Ramesh said.


ICICIdirect's trading site crashes; customers trapped and helpless

The online trading system as well as the phone-order service of ICICIdirect broke down today leaving numerous customers feeling completely helpless. However, the company is keeping mum so far, ICICI Securities Ltd's retail trading and investment services portal crashed today due to technical glitches. This has put all of its customers in deep trouble. Till writing the story, the trading or customer login page on was showing an error message saying:"Dear Customer, Our website is not available today due to technical issues. We truly regret the inconvenience caused to you." was down since morning with a message that the services will be resumed at 8.55am, the time when trading commences on bourses. However, throughout the day, customers were not able to log in or do any online trading. Even its CallNtrade facility used for placing orders through a phone was not working.

According to some customers, their repeated calls to ICICIdirect's helpline were met with replies like "Sorry, but we have a technical problem"; "We cannot transfer to our superior because he is on another call" and "Our superior will give you the same response". The media relations person first put Moneylife on hold and then did not take the subsequent calls. Our query to the CEO, Madhabi Puri Buch has not been responded to.

ICICIdirect does not have a dedicated helpline and the customers have to go through the ICICI Bank helpline in a series of complicated steps, with a wait time of up to 7-10 minutes at times, a customer said.

The magnitude of the technical problem was such that the brokerage was not even taking orders over the phone, confirmed another customer.

The Sensex jumped by more than 200 points within seconds of opening today thanks to strong overseas markets. Customers who wanted to square off their shorts were forced to watch their losses mount due to the technical problem. Those who wanted to sell their shares could not book profits.

"ICICIdirect is one of the most expensive online brokers and a breakdown in its services is very upsetting," one customer told us



Aditya Hui

7 years ago

Even ICICIdirect's trade racer (online trading platform ) seems to be full of bugs. Today (September 07, 2010) the trade racer platform is not showing the prices or any other data (open, high-low, volume etc) of any of the saved scripts! Astonishingly it was working properly in the morning also. ICICIdirect does not have a dedicated helpline & helpline for demat a/c has to be accessed through ICICI Bank helpline in a series of complicated steps. Just to access a costumer care executive takes atleast 5 minutes. Moreover these “Customer Care” numbers are not toll-free.

In July and August also there were many instances where I could not log in despite providing the proper login-id and password. The responses from the customer care executives have been very unhelpful to say the least. This is despite the fact that their brokerages are amongst the highest and they also charge a hefty annual dp fees.

I have decided to close my dp account with ICICI once my holding are transferred to another demat accout. My sincere advise to all traders and investors- Stay away from ICICIdirect


7 years ago

Site is again down since yesterday. Two continuous days of downtime on 26-7-2010 and 27-7-2010.

I wonder what kind of technical staff this company has hired. Not only are the customers suffering but the company has also lost 2 day's worth of revenue that they could have earned as brokerage.

Sameer Joshi

7 years ago

Website is still down. Earlier message was it will be available post 1500hrs then it was updated to 1900hrs and now it will be down till tomorrow :
Dear Customer,

Site will be available from 09:00(IST) on July 11,2010. We regret any inconvenience caused.

Customer Service

Deepak Mishra

7 years ago

Boss, even I am ICICI Direct customer and using their site since last 10 years. this is first time i have faced such a problem with them. if this is a technical error then this can happen with anybody. even with your company. I had my positions opened and they help me square off the same. its not that they had no alternative. let's not play the blame game. I am sure there is a big business loss even to ICICI because of this, over and above loosing faith of customers. There team is under more pressure than us. Let's cooperate with them. I have used other brokers site too without naming, others also has atleast 1 to 2 times blocks like this every year.



In Reply to Deepak Mishra 7 years ago

Boss. When you charge higher than others for the service you provide, you must have a proper backup process to service the clients. When will they learn from their mistakes? This is not the first time that ICICI has problems. Technical glitches are part and parcel of all packages, but this is ridiculous to have bungled up for 24 hrs.


7 years ago

It's making such a big fool out of us. Every time I refresh a page, it asks me to try after 5 mins. After 5 mins, the counter starts again!! The site was down for more than 24 hrs & none of them was sensitive enough to write an email explaining what happened & what they are doing!!

vinod gupta

7 years ago

today also icici direct is making fun & fool
yesterday full day and today after refreshing its telling to visit after 4 minutes and then its demat bal is visible but u refresh once or twice , same appears that this will be available after 4 minutes. seriously thinking of changing my demat ac. because more than me this co is earning from me.nirmal bang is offering free demat + insur+medclaim any one any idea please


7 years ago

The site is up now

Shantilal Hajeri

7 years ago

Yesterday I tried to login but could not. The message read the services will be resumed at 11.00 am. But it did not resume the whole day.

They should anticipate such problems and keept the back up in place.

meenakshi negi

7 years ago

..I just read a comment that the site becomes slow when u need it the most its a fact and I can vouch for it .I'm seriously thinking of taking my account elsewhere. Also,I'd like to know who is going to compensate the losses incurred by us.


7 years ago

The site is down till now and the website message remains the same. I think SEBI should pitch in here. The quality of the website has anyways been inconsistent. Some insiders say that ICICI direct slows down when you need it the most. Not sure how true that is, but of late I have experienced trouble in doing modify allocation on several occasions. The helpdesk is a paid phone service, that keeps customer on wait for at leat 5 minutes. To summarize it is so unhelpful that one would rather keep to himself than to go to them.


7 years ago

Like many others, I could not make use of the positive market move of today to square of many of my long positions. Unfortunately, we got to know how good is this trading platform and how realistic are ICICI claims only now, at our own cost - better move on before it is too late.

Manali Rohinesh

7 years ago

Their quality of service was never world-class to begin with and I had a bad experience from the get go, so I shut down my account with them and demanded a refund of my account opening charges. They hemmed and hawed but I didn't give up till they returned the money back to me. Lucky me, I was not stuck with such a loser!

TP Viswanathan

7 years ago

Customers of ICICI may be helpless, but ICICI is very very happy to milk the customers! I wonder why no NGO or consumer organization conducts a survey of the banks to find which bank makes more money by way of fines and penalties!! That coveted position will undoubtedly go to ICICI. I have personal experience of the ingenious way in which ICICI enthusiastically go about hunting the customer for penal charges / interest.

Ravi Khaitana

7 years ago

I have a decent size account. Moving all my stuff from ICICI over the next few months for sure. They lost one HNI client for sure today.
Encourage others to do so also.
Unless ICICI comes out with clear explanation what happened exactly, what is corrective measure and they dont say sorry.

Prashant Pant

7 years ago

This is ridiculous. First the site goes down and then no one at the helpdesk is available to give a proper answer.

I could not do any of trades today. This is simply ridiculous. Any one at ICICI listening

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