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Trai chief meets Voda Idea CEO to identify priority issues for 2020

The meeting assumes significance as the debt-laden and loss-making sector is reeling under massive financial stress

Trai chief | Voda idea | Vodafone CEO

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

R S Sharma, Trai chief
Trai Chairman R S Sharma

Amid ongoing turbulence in the telecom sector, Trai chairman on Wednesday met heads of telcos, including Vodafone Idea CEO, to identify priority issues that will be taken up by the regulator in 2020.

Sources said that floor price and redefining adjusted gross revenue (AGR) were among key issues that were flagged by the industry representatives at the meeting today. A section of the industry wanted Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to initiate a consultation on these issues to address industry's woes.

The meeting assumes significance as the debt-laden and loss-making sector is reeling under massive financial stress, compounded by demand for Rs 1.47 trillion in unpaid statutory dues following a ruling by the Supreme Court last month.

Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and others are staring at massive statutory payouts after the SC upheld the government's position on including revenue from non-telecommunication businesses in calculating the annual adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of telecom companies, a share of which is paid as licence and spectrum fee to the exchequer.

When contacted, Trai Chairman R S Sharma told PTI, "We had a general discussion on issues to identify the priority areas for the next calendar year".

"The industry had given their inputs prior to the meeting and TRAI also had identified some issues... So we deliberated on both these lists and got inputs from industry on their thoughts. We have asked industry to give their written submissions on specific matters," Sharma said.

Trai will finalise a list of 6-7 issues that will be taken up by the regulator in coming year, he said.

Sharma, however, refused to comment on the specific matters that came up for discussion. However, industry sources said floor price and redefinition of AGR figured prominently in the discussions that were held at Trai on Wednesday.

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First Published: Wed, November 27 2019. 16:10 IST