Owing to a tariff hike by Reliance Jio in its voice and data packages, rival companies Vodafone idea and Airtel said they would increase tariff with effect from December this year. State-owned BSNL has also reviewed its plans and is set to raise prices from December, 2019 to beat sectoral stress.
The deferred amounts to be paid by telcos will be without increase in the time period, the FM said.
“Vodafone Idea will suitably increase the prices of its tariffs effective 1 December 2019,” the statement said.
“We want the government to repatriate 550 ITS officers currently being posted in the BSNL and MTNL, and have been offered a special voluntary retirement scheme (VRS),” said PK Jain, president of the ITSA. The move to offer VRS would put an additional financial burden on the financially-struggling state-run telecom carriers.
After the cabinet approved a relief package last month, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has started on an ambitious revival programme. Chairman Pravin Kumar Purwar said BSNL is expected to launch 4G services in six months and is spending Rs 12,000 crore on the next-generation network.
BSNL's dues - to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore - have put jobs in homegrown firms at risk.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Tuesday sought stimulus in the wake of the top court’s ruling mandating telecom carriers to pay Rs 1.3 lakh crore including interest on account of annual gross revenue (AGR), impacting Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel the most.
COAI sought govt to bail out Airtel & Voda Idea. Jio says failure of two operators will not impact the sector.
Service providers are already sitting on a cumulative debt of nearly Rs 8 lakh crore.
The Cabinet has also agreed to a Rs 38,000 crore-asset monetisation scheme over four years, while 4G spectrum would be allocated administratively at 2016 prices, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at a briefing.
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