Govt rejects spectrum relief proposals

6 Feb 2019

The Indian government has rejected requests for financial relief with regards to spectrum payments, but will consider other measures. The Economic Times quotes Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan as saying that, although the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) could not support certain measures proposed by industry stakeholders to ease the financial burden on telecom operators, ‘two of their demands have been positively recommended to the finance ministry that include bringing down import duties and Goods and Services Tax (GST) relief.’ The official explained that as operators were not agreed on the subject of spectrum payments, the government could not intervene, saying that disagreements between providers indicated that it was not an industry-wide issue, and as such ‘has to be left to the market.’ Perhaps unsurprisingly, disruptive newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) has been the dissenting voice, arguing against suggestions put forward by Vodafone Idea and industry body the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) such as the deferment of spectrum payments. Elsewhere, however, operators were more unified in their support of proposals to reduce the custom duties on telecom equipment.