Telecom industry in India is in a mess and it is a result of thinking that more the competition better it is, Vodafone India CEO & Managing Director Marten Pieters said today. Also Read - Vodafone now offers free Zomato Gold subscription with its postpaid plans worth more than Rs 499
He also said that industry structure is a government responsibility and he had seen “very little action” to change that, to take that responsibility. “The telecom industry, if you look at it from international perspective is a mess in India … and it seems to come from this concept which have been developed in the past the more competition the better,” Pieters said at the Economist India Summit. “The industry structure is a problem of the government because spectrum, which is our raw material is in a limited form available and if you get too many players than you get this problem where nobody has enough spectrum,” he said. Also Read - Tata Docomo offers new prepaid plan with 4GB data and 56-day validity at Rs 165
Pieters said in the past also during his discussions with the government, he raised the point about industry structure but the latter termed it as competitive growth. Citing the example of China, he said there are three players which are very profitable, offer the lowest tariffs and have a far better infrastructure. He said last year China invested $50 billion in its networks, whereas in India the figure was $5 billion. “This industry structure is government responsibility and I think I have seen very little action to change that, to take that responsibility,” he added. Asked if there is a change in perspective since the new government has taken over, he said, “In India, the sentiment can change overnight but it doesn’t mean that structurally things can change overnight…it can hopefully be after 12-18 months.” Also Read - Vodafone Idea issues warning to its users about not picking up calls from unknown international numbers
Pieters said the ICT initiatives announced by the government are not new and the National Telecom Policy 2012 was full of such concepts but the problem is how to achieve them. “All those are all great ambitions…the problem is how do you get there. What I have seen in our industry is that the thinking is simply not there of how do you get there,” he said.