DoT to bar telcos from cross-holding

To end the possibility of forming cartels in the telecom sector, new telecom licences are proposed to come with a clause that will bar service providers from holding either direct or indirect stake in other telecom companies providing services in the same area.

"Removing cross-holding is required to break cartels among (telecom) companies. They (established players) are opposing new entrants," a senior government source said here. At present, telecom licence conditions allow a telecom operator to hold up to 10 per cent stake in other telecom services providers.

"This (bar of cross-holding norm) should go to Law Ministry for legal vetting within a week," the source added.

In a recent communication to DoT, Comptroller and Auditor General has alleged cartelisation by telecom players behind the failure of recent spectrum auction and pointed finger at the conduct of Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular and Tata Teleservices in this regard.

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