Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel reported a combined loss of Rs 74,000 crore on Thursday. It is the biggest ever loss for both telecom firms, as they made provisions following the recent Supreme Court ruling on adjusted gross revenue (AGR). Will Voda Idea and Airtel weather this storm or will Indian Telecom Sector move towards a duopoly. ET's Gulveen Aulakh explains how bad the situation is for these companies. Watch
In the new recommendations issued Wednesday, TRAI has capped the total number of platform services to 3% of the total channel carrying capacity of the DTH player, subject to a maximum of 15 such channels. At present, Tata Sky alone has over 30 platform services, while Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV also have much more than 15 services.
COAI Director General Rajan Mathews said given the latest AGR judgement from the apex court and the sector's deep crisis, the older operators are unlikely to have the wherewithal to bid for spectrum. "If the auctions are indeed held, then the government should ensure there is no monopoly in acquisition of spectrum," Mathews added.
The telecom regulator, in a paper issued Friday, has sought stakeholder views on whether a uniform ITC is still relevant or “if an alternate approach such as a forbearance regime” is required to give local telcos more flexibility to bilaterally negotiate these rates with global carriers and offer more compelling tariffs to consumers.
Sources said the DoT is working out the exact liability that Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea Ltd, and other telecom operators owe to the government following the October 24 Supreme Court judgment on the way statutory dues such as license fee and spectrum usage charge has to be calculated. The demand notices will be issued in next two weeks.
Trai initiated a review of the new regulatory framework for the broadcasting sector on August 16. It issued a consultation paper seeking stakeholders’ responses on 30 questions covering aspects related to the new tariff order.
The Supreme Court's judgement Thursday backing the government’s definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) may hasten further consolidation, paving the way for a two-operator telecom market, comprising Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, with Vodafone Idea’s very survival at stake, analysts said.
Trai will take a final call on the matter, while options such as payments moratorium or extension are also being explored. Setting a floor for prices in India is easier said than done, Trai has kept tariffs under forbearance for 16 years.