Official Trai, Telecom News, ET Telecom


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NEW DELHI: Comments from Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal that the industry does not need regulatory intervention for pricing validated the telecommunications regulator’s position that the establishment of floor tariffs was not a feasible idea, a senior official said.

“We have always been of the opinion that putting in place a floor tariff would not be feasible. It is a cumbersome process,” the head of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India told ET ( Trai).

Mittal said Thursday that regulatory intervention on setting a price floor was not needed, indicating a change in the mobile operator’s previous position.

Supporting Aditya Birla Group (ABG) Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla’s point of view on establishing a floor price, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) recently said that over the past few years , the fixing of the floor price had become essential to bring some relief to the telecommunications industry. cost pressures and financial stress. COAI represents the three private telecommunications operators – Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea.

“The Cabinet-approved back-up plan is more important than finding a floor price that can only be done in a scenario where the financial health of all telecom operators remains in bad shape,” the official said. Telecommunications tariffs are currently on hold.

The official added that setting a tariff floor being a complex process, it requires a thorough analysis of the current market situation and consultation with the Competition Commission of India (ITC).

He added that the announced reforms would be good for a large country like India as they could attract new players and promote competition.

Welcoming the package and calling it revolutionary, Mittal said Airtel would opt for the option to defer payment to the government for 4 years, a move that would ease its cash flow by Rs 35,000 crore and Rs 40,000 crore.

Setting a floor price has been a bone of contention between telecom service providers and the industry regulator for a few years now, with telecom operators arguing that a minimum price is essential to end the harsh tariff cuts that were hurting to industry. But the regulator pushed back, saying it was an anti-consumer measure. But, speaking to reporters on Thursday, Mittal said telecom operators should strive to raise prices, without regulatory intervention, as the industry needed to “heal.” He added that the abstention policy has worked to benefit consumers and other industries.

Incumbents such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea recently revised their basic retail rates and corporate postpaid plans to push users towards higher paying plans, with the aim of boosting their average revenue per user.

Mittal added that Airtel could take the lead in raising prices in some areas.

Reliance Jio, who is currently the market leader, also said it will strengthen India’s telecom industry and accelerate the realization of Digital India’s vision.

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