India's Trai proposes M&A reforms

04 Dec 2017

Indian telecoms regulator Trai has recommended reforms aimed at making it easier for the market's mobile operators to pursue mergers.

The regulator has made a series of recommendations on improving the ease of doing business for telecoms operators following a review into the current regulatory environment, the Hindu Business Linereported.

These recommendations include a deadline of 30 days for the Department of Telecom to approve a merger or the transfer of licenses after a proposed deal received approval from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

In addition, Trai has proposed permitting trading or surrender of excess spectrum of a merged entity within a year of a completed merger and a 30 day deadline for granting import licenses to companies.

Trai has also proposed that the grant of all licenses or approvals issued by the department's Wireless Planning and Co-ordination Wing be conducted online in a paperless format

The recommendations, along with the proposed raising of spectrum ownership caps, could further foster the wave of consolidation sweeping the telecoms sector as a result of the intense competition and high debt burdens faced by the market's mobile operators.

But they do nothing to address the high cost of spectrum and the heavy levies and fees that are in part to blame for the state of the industry.

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