Idea Cellular: Government policy should allow us to cover network costs

The telcos also said that Jio's free offers had impacted the sector adversely.

    India's third largest telecom service provider Idea Cellular has recently said that it is in favor of lower data prices, but government policy should allow us to cover network costs.

    Idea Cellular: Government policy should allow us to cover network cost

    "Government has a choice of any policy, it should cover the cost," a senior executive from the company said, ET reported.

    "We completely agree that data prices need to come down," the official added.

    Meanwhile, in a meeting with inter- ministerial group (IMG) incumbent (Bharti Airtel, Idea, Vodafone) said that the current interconnection usage charges (IUC) are below cost and this need to be corrected.

    Idea Cellular: Government policy should allow us to cover network cost

    The telcos also said that Jio's free offers had impacted the sector adversely.

    India's largest telecom players Bharti Airtel accused the new entrant of engaging in predatory prices.

    IMG also met four major banks (State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank) where they (banks) informed that there is a stress in the telecom industry.

    The telecom sector's debt is estimated to be over Rs 4.6 lakh crore.

    Idea Cellular: Government policy should allow us to cover network cost

    "The bankers are worried and said that there can be defaults unless some solution is found soon," sources close to the development said. Adding that SBI's exposure alone to the telecom sector is around Rs 70,000 crore.

    Sources also said that the bankers are going to meet IMG again soon. "There is a stress in the sector and that there is an urgent need to find a solution," one of the bank officials said.

    Idea Cellular: Government policy should allow us to cover network cost

    The official further added that revenues in the sector were coming down and this may further worsen the situation. Meanwhile one of the bankers also said it has suggested steps like reducing levies by Government, extending loan repayment tenure and infusing promoters' money into companies to improve liquidity.

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