Lower levies, fast policy implementation key to attracting $100 billion into telecom sector, says industry lobby COAI

Cutting telecom levies to below 10 percent and speedy implementation of the proposed new telecom policy will be crucial to attract investments worth USD 100 billion, as envisaged in the new telecom policy's (NTP) draft document, the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) said on Wednesday.

The government, on Tuesday evening released the draft of the new telecom policy (NTP) -- 'National Digital Communications Policy 2018' -- with an aim to create 40 lakh new jobs by 2022, attract USD 100 billion in investments into the sector and ensure broadband speeds of 50 mbps for every citizen.

 Lower levies, fast policy implementation key to attracting 0 billion into telecom sector, says industry lobby COAI

Mobile tower. Reuters

The draft also proposes to address the woes of the debt-ridden telecom sector by reviewing licence fees, spectrum usage charges, universal service obligation fund levy -- all of which add to the cost of telecom services.

"Bringing down total taxes and levies, currently at about 30 percent, to below 10 percent, will be important for attracting investment targets outlined in the draft policy document," Rajan Mathews, the Director General of the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI), told PTI.

He said the industry - reeling under a massive financial stress - would like the policy to be finalised and implemented by the end of July. Mathews said the mobile industry fully supports the NTP blueprint released after public consultations. The draft proposes to adopt 'optimal pricing of spectrum' to ensure sustainable and affordable access to digital communications. High spectrum price and related charges have been the major concern of the telecom services segment that is bruised by a debt of around Rs 7.8 lakh crore.

It also proposes to recognise mid-band spectrum, particularly in the 3 GHz to 24 GHz range, for next-generation networks. It also outlined a roadmap for high in-demand backhaul spectrum for transmitting signals between mobile towers in the E and V bands as per international best practices.

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Updated Date: May 02, 2018 15:26:42 IST