Vod India CEO decries business conditions

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

Vodafone India's CEO has expressed frustration at the continued the difficulty of doing business in the market.

In an interview with Press Trust of India, Martin Pieters said conditions have been little improved over the past few months.

But he expressed optimism that changes will take place that improve business conditions.

The World Bank recently estimated that India was 142nd among 189 countries for ease of doing business. The nation dropped by two positions compared to last year's ranking.

Vodafone India has accused the government of trying to twist its arm into agreeing with all the terms of the new unified licenses for telcos, by refusing to sign its license until it does.

The parent company is also famously fighting a tax battle over its 2007 acquisition of its Indian unit from Hutchison Whampoa, with a bill that has now reached over 112 billion rupees ($1.82 billion).

Another example involved some Indian incumbents banding together to enter 3G inter-circle roaming pacts, to allow each other to offer 3G services in areas where they lack spectrum.

The government tried to negate these pacts, but the telecom appeals tribunal agreed that they were allowable under the license terms. The government then ignored this advice and still banned the operators from entering these arrangements.

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