TRAI says no need for exit policy

Last Updated: Wed, Apr 18, 2012 16:50 hrs

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) In a major setback for telecom operators, especially those who want to shut operations in India, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Wednesday said there was no need for a exit policy.

"Presently there is no need for a separate exit policy for all types of licences and the entry fee paid by the licensees will continue to be non-refundable as per their license terms and conditions," TRAI said in its response to the Department of Telecom's (DoT) request last year for recommendations on exit policy.

"Present conditions in various licences with regard to their surrender (licensee can surrender its licence by giving atleast 60 days notice, 30 days in case of ISP license) shall continue to be applicable," it added.

TRAI's move will virtually shut doors for firms who plan to shut operations in India and have sought refund of their licence fee after the Supreme Court ordered cancellation of their licences.

On Feb 2, Supreme Court ordered cancellation of 122 telecom licences issued in 2008 affecting nine firms.

Companies like S Tel, Etisalat and Loop who have announced plans to exit the Indian market have sought refund form the government. Loop has sought Rs.2,800 crore as refund from the government in entry fees, bank guarantees and other investments.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had earlier issued a pre-consultation paper on exit policy in January on issues like implications, advantages and disadvantages, to individual licensees, to the government revenues and to the telecom sector as a whole.

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