Bharti, RCOM look to pull out of USOF activities

7 Feb 2011

Two of India’s largest private telecoms operators, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications (RCOM), have approached the government with a view to prematurely terminating their involvement with the rural telephony scheme which operates under the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). According to India’s Economic Times the duo are seeking to stop their involvement despite having not yet fulfilled commitments they made by winning bids in 2007 to provide telecoms services to villages, prompting the government to consider banning both from participating in the next round of bidding for such contracts. The report said that officials in the USOF administration have claimed that RCOM currently has less than 500 base stations active out of about 8,000 that it had committed to build. Commenting on the matter officials also noted: ‘The requests of Reliance Communications and Reliance Telecom (both belong to Anil Ambani-led group) and Bharti have been turned down. There is no provision for service providers to unilaterally exit from the agreement on their own.’

India, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications (RCOM)