Government should protect mobile consumers
Along with attractive tariff rates, availability of phones and the ease of obtaining a phone connection have helped India witness unprecedented growth in the telecommunications market, leading to a tele-density of over 77%. This transformation in communication must be lauded. Now that the government is trying to maximise revenue through auctions, should we get ready for increased call tariff going forward?
It appears as if the government is obsessed with the R1.76 lakh crore loss (as noted by the CAG) and that the regulators are trying their best to reduce this loss through exorbitant spectrum pricing. There are arguments substantiating such high prices. But, can this be justified considering communication is an essential service and should serve the larger interest of the society?
Indian telcos are required to pay one-time spectrum charge, and this price is realised now through auctioning (earlier through administrative pricing) and an annual licence fee. Overall, regulatory levies in India are far higher compared to other parts of the world. While