India to announce telecoms M&A policy next month

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New rules on mergers and acquisitions delayed to 15 October after calls for guidelines on spectrum trading.

India’s new policy covering mergers and acquisitions should be in place by 15 October, according to local press reports on Friday.

Speaking to the press, India’s telecoms minister Kapil Sibal said he had hoped that the new M&A guidelines would be ready by 15 September, but could not be done, the Hindu Business Line reported.

Earlier this month the Economic Times reported that the new rules would be delayed to enable the government to reconsider its draft version following calls for issues such as spectrum trading and sharing to be included.

Telecoms operators insist that clarity on spectrum-sharing is a must to bring about consolidation in the intensely-competitive Indian mobile market, the paper noted.

The Indian government is reportedly concerned that M&A will enable operators to profit from the value of spectrum. It is keen that in the event of in-market consolidation, the market value for the spectrum being transferred should be paid to the government.