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Govt planning a 2 year holiday on spectrum payments to ease burden on telecom operators, says report

Govt planning a 2-year holiday on spectrum payments to ease burden on telecom operators, says report

Govt planning a 2-year holiday on spectrum payments to ease burden on telecom operators, says report
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By CNBC-TV18 Oct 16, 2019 10:17:51 AM IST (Published)

To ease the burden on the three debt-laden private telecommunications firms in the country, the telecom department is working on a plan to provide a two-year holiday on spectrum dues payment amounting to Rs 40,000 crore.

To ease the burden on the three debt-laden private telecommunications firms in the country, the telecom department is working on a plan to provide a two-year holiday on spectrum dues payment amounting to Rs 40,000 crore, the Economic Times reported, citing a person aware of the development.

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“The request from one of the telcos for a two-year (payment) moratorium is being examined. However, the benefit cannot be given to only one operator. So all telcos will be offered the holiday,” the official said. Any discussion in this regard is subject to approval by the finance minister.
The three surviving private telecom firms in the country — Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, and Airtel — have a combined debt in excess of Rs 7 lakh crore. Vodafone Idea has Rs 24,400 crore in pending spectrum dues, while Bharti Airtel has Rs 9,400 crore and Reliance Jio is in the red by Rs 7,000 crore, split between FY20 and FY21, the paper reported.
Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that the government is trying to create favourable atmosphere for telecom operators in the country, adding that auctions for the 5G spectrum will be held in the current financial year.
“As a government, we have sought to create a favourable atmosphere for our telecom companies to operate. Some of them have shared their concerns here. I can be very frank to you, as a minister of the government of India, they are working out that you remain a productive asset and not a non-productive asset but it is equally important for my part and I say both for the TSPs sitting here and also BSNL, MTNL which has equally done a good job in the last so many years particularly in case of natural calamities, in case of other pro-people services,” he said.
The government was aware and alive to some problems and challenges being faced by the industry, said Prasad at the India Mobile Congress 2019. "Spectrum auctions will be done this financial year... We are undertaking some reforms in spectrum pricing," he added.
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