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Reduce litigation in telecom sector: Mittal; Birla seeks banking sector support

Sunil Mittal said the regulatory regime should be such that it does not create more litigation going forward, urging the government to look for solutions in this respect. (MINT_PRINT)Premium
Sunil Mittal said the regulatory regime should be such that it does not create more litigation going forward, urging the government to look for solutions in this respect. (MINT_PRINT)

  • Speaking at the India Mobile Congress 2021, Mittal urged the industry to drive efficiencies by collaborating to reduce duplication of towers and fibre infrastructure, which can in turn lower costs for consumers

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Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal urged the government to reduce litigation in the telecom sector, including old cases that have been going on for years. He batted for lowering levies on carriers and making spectrum more affordable.

Speaking at the India Mobile Congress 2021, Mittal urged the industry to drive efficiencies by collaborating to reduce duplication of towers and fibre infrastructure, which can in turn lower costs for consumers.

“One area where they need to lower the temperature of our industry is really in the area of litigation. A lot of litigation still remains. There are cases right from TDSAT, High Courts to Supreme Court. Cases that are very old that need to settle. New cases must be avoided," Mittal said at the virtual event on Wednesday.

He added that the regulatory regime should be such that it does not create more litigation going forward, urging the government to look for solutions in this respect.

He further stressed ongoing issues of high levies and exorbitant spectrum prices, which also required resolution which will further aid the growth of the sector.

“Duties still remain large, that is an area of industry demand for a long period of time. Spectrum remains expensive," he said, appealing to the government to ‘continuously look at’ for the benefit of our digital dream.

He added that the last set of reforms, which included deferment of AGR by four years and return of bank guarantees, had greatly helped the industry, even as cleaning up of KYC issues, the storage of CAF forms, streamlining of import licensing regime, simplification of SACFA clearances brought in lot of energy to the industry.

The views were echoed by Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, who said that support from the banking sector was needed for the growth of the telecom industry even as the government made some critical policy interventions.

“Further steps in ease of doing business, and support from the banking sector would significantly enhance the sector strength and ensure that India remains at the cutting edge of global technology trends," he said.

Mittal added that the industry should collaborate to lower cost structure and in turn lower costs for consumers.

“There is so much duplication in the industry, whether it is in the area of towers or it’s in the area of fibre. We need to start to talk to each other, do co-builds like the world is doing, share more tower infrastructure and ensure that while we fiercely compete, we also collaborate and lower the cost structures for serving the most affordable tariffs anywhere in the world," he said.

Birla added that to accelerate the digital shift, it was required that the industry collectively addresses the need for continued investments to enable the journey to ‘5G, industry 4.0 and beyond’.

Birla also noted that India’s mobile industry would be vital in achieving India’s vision of a $5 trillion economy by 2025, of which $1 trillion will be the contribution from the digital economy.

“A robust industry is necessary to invest and accelerate the achievement of the Digital India vision," Birla said, highlighting the National Digital Communications Policy 2018, which puts the impetus on leveraging advanced technologies such as IoT, AI, Blockchain, Robotics, Edge and cloud computing etc.

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