Photo of Sameer Chugh

Partner of General Corporate Practice at New Delhi office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Sameer Chugh has over 25 years of experience and has been the General Counsel of several large conglomerates. He has over 30 billion dollars of transactions experience and has been involved in complex domestic and cross border M&A, Investments, JVs, etc. He has a special focus in the TMT and Regulatory space. He can be reached at sameer.chugh@cyrilshroff.com

Telecom Reforms

Introduction

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), in second half of 2021, released a series of notifications for reforming the telecom sector and bringing much-needed reforms. These notifications were compiled in a booklet titled “Telecom Reforms 2021” and released by the DoT (“Reforms”). The Reforms span over different areas of telecom regulations including: Know Your Customer (“KYC”) Norms, amending the definition Adjusted Gross Revenue (“AGR”), a percentage of which is the license fee, Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”), Bank Guarantees, Customer Application Forms (“CAF”), sharing and assignment of spectrum, Standing Advisory Committee on Frequency Allocation (“SACFA”) clearance, Import of Wireless Equipment and liquidity requirements of Telecom Service Providers (“TSP”). In this blog, we provide an overview of the Reforms and present a brief overall analysis of the same.

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The TRAI's Recommendations on Unbundling Licenses

Introduction

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently recommended the unbundling of layers of telecom services through a system of differential licensing. The recommendations aim to “catalyse Investments and Innovation and promote Ease of Doing Business”. While the said recommendations have been welcomed by a cross-section of stakeholders, concerns were raised regarding the application of license fee as a percentage of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) at different levels. Even though the recommendations of the TRAI are not binding on the licensor (Department of Telecommunications (DoT)), they represent a significant shift in TRAI’s approach to the issuance of licenses in the telecom sector and possibly attracting new service providers.

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National Monetisation Pipeline – Fueling Economic Growth

INTRODUCTION

Monetisation of assets has  been  identified as one of the pillars for enhanced and sustainable infrastructure financing. The Finance Minister of India (“FM”) had, in December 2019, announced a National Infrastructure Pipeline (“NIP”) that envisages an investment of INR 111 lakh crore in the infrastructure sector in the period between 2019 and 2025 and brings in various opportunities for private sector to invest in infrastructure projects including the development and operation of the same. The FM in the annual budget 2021-2022 announced the launch of a new national monetisation pipeline[1] to bridge the gaps in infrastructure funding projects under the NIP and to unlock value from the current public investment in infrastructure through private sector efficiencies in operations and management of infrastructure. The NITI Aayog has now created the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP Volumes I & II) (“NMP”) in respect of the brownfield core infrastructure assets. The NMP is in furtherance of the Government of India’s (“Government”) strategic divestment policy, which aims to limit Government’s presence to only a select identified sectors with the rest to be handed to private players.

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