Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) have vouched for changing the tax structure of the telecom sector. Indian telcos pay some of the highest levies and taxes globally. This is the reason why the telcos have been distressed for a long time despite having millions of customers in their books.
During the second edition of ETTelecom Digital Telco virtual summit, Rahul Vatts, Chief Regulatory Officer, Bharti Airtel, said the telcos have spent thousands of crores for acquiring spectrum in the past auctions, and thus there is no point in paying spectrum usage charges (SUC) for such things as it is a legacy concept. Vatts added that the overall GST rate structure should also be looked at.
Vodafone Idea’s Balaji Has Similar Views
According to an ET Telecom report, P Balaji, Chief Regulatory Officer, Vodafone Idea, also shared his views which echo the same things, such as a reduction in the levies and taxes such as Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
Balaji reiterated that it would be great if the litigation in the sector was reduced by settling most of the legacy cases. Balaji further raised the Right of Way (RoW) issues and said the goal should be to fiberise 85% of the sector in the next 24 months for the 5G rollout.
Indian operators have also said that the price of the 5G spectrum needs to be driven down for the 5G rollout to happen fast. The 5G spectrum auctions are still quite far, and they will not happen before the first quarter of FY23.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, has said before that the telcos must find a way to work together and share telecom infrastructure. It is very important for a country such as India, which has a distressed telecom sector. So much distressed that it needed a relief package from the government to save the entire telecom sector from a duopoly between Jio and Airtel.