The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is working on a relief package for the telecom sector in India. The sector is currently financially stressed with all the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues drama and government dues. A senior official related to the matter told ET Telecom that the DoT is currently working on a relief package for the telcos which will allow the operators in surrendering the unused spectrum, phase out levies, reduce bank guarantees, and exclude non-telecom income from the AGR dues calculation.
No Relief Package for the Telecom Sector Yet
It is worth noting that the government hadn’t provided the telcos with any relief package during last year when the economy slowed down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the telcos had to make even larger investments in their networks to be able to bear the workload that they were facing because almost everyone working from their home was relying on mobile networks at some point or the other.
In fact, instead of being offered relief, the telcos were burdened with thousands of crores of debt in AGR dues. However, the upcoming relief package might change a few things for the operators and also attract new investors.
One of the best things for the operators would be to get the option of surrendering their unused spectrum to the government with a small penalty or fine. At present, the telcos can only transfer the purchased spectrum to any other telco if there’s a need for it.
But in case a telco wants to get rid of the unused spectrum but any other telco doesn’t want it, it is a waste of resources not only for the operator but also the nation since spectrum is a sovereign asset. Hopefully, the telecom department comes out with the relief package for the sector very soon and the industry gets new investors to help it cope with the costs that 5G will attract.