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India is no more a preferred investment destination for global telecom operators looking to expand to new markets as the regulatory environment here is uncertain, industry body GSM Association said.
She said despite global economic slowdown around five telecom operators and even some companies operating in India, are looking to invest and expand their business to new countries. India, however, will have to wait till investor faith in the country is restored, she added. "There are some opportunities and operators are looking at them. Burma is a very clear example. It is attracting lots of interest. There are a number of players, some of them in India, who are willing to invest there," She said.
Explaining the reasons why India is no more a preferred destination, Bouverot said: "It is economic as well regulatory. But they both have happened at the same time. It is the time when overall operators are saying we need to be careful about our finances and at the same time regulations have become more onerous. It (regulations) has been more taxing on operators and also less predictable." It may be recalled the recent the auction of spectrum had earned the government a revenue of Rs 9,407.64 crore only against minimum expectation of Rs 28,000 crore and no new operator participated in the bidding.
According to the latest data of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), FDI as a source of funding has shrunk to a trickle for the once lucrative telecom sector with foreign investment inflows plunging to USD 43 million in the April-September period of the current fiscal compared to USD 1.9 billion it attracted in April-September 2011. Bouverot said the trend of investment by telecom operators across globe is holding on to existing geographies and invest there because there is huge investment to be made in the network.
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