7% drop in telecom revenues in 2018-19: Govt

New Delhi, December 12 (IANS): The revenue from the telecom sector to the government has seen a seven per cent drop in fiscal 2019, Rajya Sabha was told on Thursday.


The Communications Ministry said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha: "As per the information available with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Adjusted Gross Revenue for the telecom service sector stood at Rs 1,44,681 crore in 2018-19 as against Rs 1,55,680 crore in 2017-18, thereby showing a decrease of 7.06 per cent.


"The decline in the Adjusted Gross Revenue is not sufficient to conclude below cost pricing by the telecom service providers."


The Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) has come down from Rs 124.85 in 2017-18 to Rs 71.39 in March 2019, the reply said.


In another reply, Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Department of Telecom has held a number of meetings with the Telecom Service Providers in the recent past, regarding the issues faced by the Telecom Sector.


A Committee of Secretaries (CoS) chaired by Cabinet Secretary also considered issues related to the Telecom Sector.


Based on the recommendations of the CoS, the Government has permitted deferment of the payment of the spectrum auction instalments due for 2020-21 and 2021-22 for mitigating the financial stress being faced by the telecom Services Sector, whereby, Department of Telecommunications will give an option to the Telecom Service Providers to defer payment of the spectrum auction instalments due for 2020-21 and 2021-22, either for one or both years.


These deferred amounts will be spread equally over the remaining instalments to be paid by Telecom Service Providers, without any increase in the existing time period specified for making the instalment payments.


Interest as stipulated while auctioning of the concerned spectrum will, however, be charged so that Net present value (NPV) of the payable amount is protected.


As per the current policy, the Telecom Service Providers will continue to securitise the next payable annual instalment by a Financial Bank Guarantee (FBG) of an amount equivalent to the instalment, Prasad said.