DoT to look into relief package for telecom providers

Vodafone-Idea (VIL), the country's largest telecom service provider, recorded a loss of Rs 4,974 crore in June-September 2018 quarter.

The Ministry of Communications and IT is mulling providing relief package to the industry players, said a Businessline report quoting atop official here on Wednesday. 
 
A few days ago Vodafone-Idea (VIL) chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla met top finance ministry officials and sought for a deferral on Rs 900 crore that it has to pay the government in March. An ET report quoting an official said Birla had sought to make the payment in 12 instalments. 
 
The telecom service provider recorded a loss of Rs 4,974 crore in June-September 2018 quarter. If the Vodafone-Idea, being the largest telecom service provider, fails to make timely payments, the government feels it will send a wrong signal in the business community.
 
“We don’t want a default — we will work out something,” another government officials told ET.
 
According to Businessline report, the overall sector’s debt is estimated to be around ₹4.6 lakh crore and operators have seen their margins narrow due to the stiff competition in the market.
 
Bharti Airtel, which moved down to No. 2 position after the Vodafone Idea merger, posted a 65.4 per cent fall in Q2 of 2018-19.
 
The government, however, is working on several initiatives such as 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots and National Digital Communication Policy that is tabled in the Cabinet. 
 
“The USOF tenders for Wi-Fi hotspots, we are in the final stages of selecting the partner and it will done in couple of weeks,” Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecom was quoted as saying.
 
Source: Businessline, ET, Media reports

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