First formal meeting of IMG with the telecom service providers started with a lot of drama today. Reliance Jio officials blamed operators for huge debt in the industry as they do not want to increase equity in the companies. Jio officials also alleged that the top three players – Airtel, Vodafone and Idea - have formed a cartel.
This is a developing story. We will keep on updating our readers on the latest developments on it. Following are main points that Reliance Jio officials told Inter-ministerial Group (IMG):
1. All promoters should have Equity infusion to reduce Debt and improve Debt servicing ratio. Why should banks alone carry the burden? For instance, they said SingTel and Bharti should infuse more equity.
2. Three top players have formed a cartel, and hence industry is suffering.
3. Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) definition should be corrected.
4. Microwave charges should be uniform for industry as applied for top three players, rest of the industry is paying – 1.5% of revenue while top three players are paying at 0.5% (at 2002 rate).
5. Mobile termination charge (MTC) should be zero.
The IMG is set up by the Ministry of Communications and the panel includes various officials of the Department of Telecommunications, Department of Financial Services, Department of Economic Affairs and Department of Revenue.