The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has asked the chief executive officers (CEO) of all the companies in the sector to a meeting on June 15 to discuss their financial crisis.
The CEOs will also meet Union Minister of Communication Manoj Sinha
on June 22 or 23, to provide information on the problems in the sector. An inter-ministerial panel, formed to address the same issue, will meet sectoral representatives on June 12, 15 and 17.
The government became proactive to address this issue after a number of recent reports on the financial stress
in the telecom sector. In April, the Reserve Bank of India had asked banks to set aside higher provisioning for loans given to the sector. Also, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications
has defaulted on its loan repayments.
was initially scheduled to conduct an open-house discussion on interconnect usage charges on June 15, but now, the meeting has been shifted to a later date.
Competition unleashed by Reliance Jio, which launched commercial services from September last year, is believed to have hit the telcos’ financials further. Sector leader Bharti Airtel’s net profit had fallen for the past few quarters.
The telecom industry has outstanding debt of about Rs 4 lakh crore, incurred mainly on account of payments for spectrum, spectrum usage charges and other levies. The industry had earlier also written to the Department of Telecommunication, expressing concern over the financial situation.