Stressed telecom biz seeks govt aid to tide over liquidity crunch

The telecom industry, which facilitated wide-spread digital adoption during the pandemic, continues to be financially stressed and seeks government support on issues like liquidity, rationalisation of levies, AGR and spectrum pricing, according to COAI.
Stressed telecom biz seeks govt aid to tide over liquidity crunch

New Delhi

The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), in its outlook for 2021, said 5G launch is expected in the later part of the year. The technology is poised to open up a plethora of possibilities in the context of business models, better education, healthcare, smart cities, smart manufacturing, and intelligent logistics, SP Kochhar, Director General of COAI said in a statement. 
“However, industry continues to be financially stressed and we seek the support of the government in enabling the industry to truly play its role as an enabler of horizontal growth and a boost to the nation’s economy,” Kochhar said. 
Listing out the top challenges faced by its member telecom firms, COAI said these relate to liquidity, rationalisation of the regulatory levies, Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) issues, spectrum pricing, Right of Way rules, and cell tower radiation. 
“COAI has been pressing the government and TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) on these,” Kochhar added. 
Like any other sector, the telecom industry too was impacted by the pandemic with a sharp fall in the number of subscribers in March and April. However, as business and individuals adopted digital ways, telecom industry emerged as a “saviour.” 
Many telecom players have benefitted from a surge in the traffic of data and voice, due to which the telecom sector is performing well compared to other infra sub-sectors, he said.

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