After Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel has raised the issue of extremely low mobile tariffs currently prevalent in the industry and sought the government’s intervention in the matter. According to sources, Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal met communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday and highlighted the issue while seeking support from the government.
Vodafone Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee, Chief Executive Officer Nick Read and Vodafone-Idea Managing Director and CEO Ravinder Takkar on Monday met telecom secretary Anshu Prakash at a time when the government is busy preparing for the upcoming spectrum auctions.
Vodafone Idea has been seeking a two-year moratorium on its annual spectrum payment citing debt and stress on balance sheet.
Loss-making telecom operator Vodafone Idea (VIL) stands to gain the most if the deadline for scrapping inter-connect usage charges (IUC) by Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is extended. VIL gets about 30% of its overall operating income from IUC.
IUC charge is paid to the operator on whose network a call terminates. Trai had last reduced it in September 2017 by a sharp 57% to 6 paise per minute.
Reliance Jio added 8.53 million subscribers in July, while incumbent operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea lost a cumulative 6 million users during the month. Apart from Jio, only state-run BSNL added users. The mobile subscriber base of Reliance Jio stood at 339.79 million at the end of July as the company added a healthy number of users.
Expect another round of fight between incumbent operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio over termination charges.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday came out with a consultation paper to review the termination charges with the aim of making it zero (Bill and keep in technical parlance) from January 2020 as per a road map laid by it two years go.
With JioFibre set to be launched on September 05, 2019, telecom players are revising their plans in a bid to maintain their share in the industry and hence increase their revenue despite continually losing their subscribers to the Reliance juggernaut.
And it is not just telecom companies who are doing this, DTH service Tata Sky too made an announcement this week offering free additional months of usage to its subscribers.
Vodafone Idea shares slid 6 per cent to Rs 5.60 in early morning trade on the BSE on Tuesday after Balesh Sharma stepped down as company’s chief executive officer (CEO) with immediate effect due to personal reason. Ravindar Takkar has been appointed as managing director and CEO for period of three years.
Shares of telecom companies Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea slumped on Tuesday after Mukesh Ambani said Monday that Reliance Industries has received strong interest from strategic and financial investors for its telecom and retail businesses. In the early trade on Tuesday, Bharti Airtel shares tumbled nearly 7 per cent to Rs 346.45 per share on BSE, while those of Vodafone Idea plunged about 10 per cent in the intraday trading today.
The fate of the country’s financially stressed telecom industry is hanging in a precarious balance. The Supreme Court is shortly going to conclude the hearings on a case which is going since 2006 relating to the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) and pronounce its judgment. If the operators lose the case, they may have to shell out a massive Rs 92,000 crore as outstanding licence fee.
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