Centre must ensure same service for same rules: MD, Idea Cellular

ANI | Updated: Sep 27, 2017 20:15 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept 27 (ANI): Idea Cellular Managing Director Himanshu Kapania on Wednesday categorically stated that the regulating authority should ensure 'same service for the same rules' and create a level playing field for competition, adding that the former is currently 'the biggest risk in India'.

Addressing the Indian Mobile Congress 2017 (IMC) here earlier in the day, Kapania said in spite of financial stress in the sector, private sector is working at a breakneck speed, and this needs to be supported by an investment of around Rs.4 to 5 Lakh crore.

"The private sector is working at breakneck speed inspite of the ongoing financial crisis. While it is good to discuss new technology like IoT and 5G network, need of the hour is to resolve the high cost of spectrum, without which we will be hostage of the past," he said.

"We are looking at installing over five lakh 4G BTS in the next three to four years. It will help in providing internet access to over 500,000 towns and villages, along with high speed broadband of around 50mbps as revealed. All of this requires an investment of around Rs.4 to 5 lakh crore," added Kapania.

Addressing the 'elephant in the room', Kapania raised concerns over a telecom operator "bundling data for free, offering voice calls for free," for the decline in revenue in the telecom industry, adding that the subsequent falling price of tariffs has lead to an increase in the pressure on the industry.

Expressing his dissent over the abolishment of interconnect usage charge (IUC) by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently, Kapania opined that this is further depleting the industry's profits as Indian telcos offer low data and call costs.

Talking about the shift towards a digital economy through the use of e-wallets and other measures, Kapania stated that it is necessary to ensure affordable prices to consumers and peaceful coexistence of 4G and 2G. He also highlighted the need to create a pro-investment environment, with almost 4-5 percent driven by investment in broadband.

"India has witnessed a shift from analog to digital, supporting significant development of ecosystem through potential digitisation of Indian economy. We would like to see new startups across diverse categories like healthcare, digital wallets, educational improvement and so on. Telecom and mobility will be bedrock to help all budding entrepreneurs," he stated.

However, Kapania reiterated that apart from the introduction and deployment of 5G, IoT and other technologies, availability of adequate and affordable spectrum is important, following the resolution of legacy prices. (ANI)