The Telecom Commission has directed Telecom Regulator Authority Of India (TRAI) to implement orders on tariffs in "letter and spirit" and review existing rules to ensure financial growth of the telecom industry.
"The commission discussed decline in revenue of telecom industry in second and third quarter. This is the first time revenue of the sector has declined.The commission has decided that TRAI may be apprised of commission's concern and implement its own order and direction on tariffs in letter and spirit and also review existing rules for orderly financial growth of the sector," a source said.
It is one of the functions of the regulator to ensure orderly growth of the sector and therefore commission desired that the regulator should be asked to look at necessary changes to be made in its existing policy or regulation to protect financial health of the sector, the source added.
The source said that the decision was taken after the presentation on revenue trend in the sector by the Department of Telecom noticed a decline of 10 percent to around Rs. 500 crores between second and third quarter of ongoing financial year and no telecom operator was specifically discussed during the meeting.
"The commission noted that there are about Rs. 1.5 lakh crores of spectrum auction installment due, and the sector is under debt of Rs. 4.5-5 lakh crores. Any adverse impact on the revenue may adversely impact payment of installments, banking sector FDI and rural roll out of telecom networks," the source said.
The decision has been taken after Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio is offering free services which eroded the profitability of telcos during the quarter ended 31 December.