The Indian telecom industry is currently not in a position for the next round of spectrum auction for the next one year. According to Rajan Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India, the telecom industry is facing ongoing consolidation among popular mobile service providers. The need of the hour is to harmonize the spectrum holdings among operators.
Mathews said that granting of the spectrum cannot be considered as a service provided by the Government. The telecom industry is going through a tough time due to the brain drain of employees. It is to be noted that BSNL is not yet to start 4Gserice in India when other competitors have already launched the service. It would be difficult for BSNL to beat providers such as Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio.
According to sources, the DoT is keeping a close watch on the developments and will fix the next round of spectrum auction based on the recommendations of the TRAI. Interestingly, the regulator had discussed the matters surrounding spectrum auctions with mobile service providers who are opposing the spectrum auction due to various issues. The main reason is attributed to the financial stress faced by the major players.
Commenting on the upcoming budget, Mathews said that industry is not in a position to pay more than 30% to the Government. The COAI support Make in India but opposed to imposing of customs duties since it will impact the goals of the service sector. He added that the budget should address the expensive taxes and duties including regulating license fees.
That being said, the telecom industry is facing a crisis due to huge competition from various providers. Nowadays, we can see new plans that are introduced every day. In the past, we only see new plans once in a while. Moreover, smartphone manufacturers have established tied up with mobile service providers such as Vodafone and Airtel to offer cash back to customers.
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