Will not allow any monopoly: Ravi Shankar Prasad tells telecom CEOs

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Updated: July 28, 2019 3:56:46 AM

On his part, Prasad, while informing them that he’s already seized of the matter and has formed a committee under the department of telecommunications secretary to look into the matter, asking them to improve quality of services.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, telecom CEO, finance ministry, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, BSNL, Vodafone Idea, telecom operators, 5G innovationPrasad, who met the CEOs of various telecom companies, also asked them to have a robust involvement in 5G and the making of a -trillion economy.

Telecom operators on Saturday urged telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to rationalise various kinds of levies on the sector. On his part, Prasad, while informing them that he’s already seized of the matter and has formed a committee under the department of telecommunications secretary to look into the matter, asking them to improve quality of services. He said there should be fair competition and nobody should have a monopoly. Prasad, who met the CEOs of various telecom companies, also asked them to have a robust involvement in 5G and the making of a $5-trillion economy.

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He said he has already written to the finance ministry regarding reduction in GST rates for telecom sector to 12% from the current 18% and also about input tax credit. A DoT committee is already working on a proposal to reduce the licence fee by 2 percentage points. “I have assured them three things. We want a fair competition. The government will not encourage any monopoly and will do its best for ease of doing business,” Prasad said.
The meeting was attended by Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal, Vodafone Idea CEO Balesh Sharma, Mahendra Nahata, board member of Reliance Jio and BSNL chairman PK Purwar. The operators also raised the issue of reserve prices of the proposed auction, terming them as too high.

But the minister refused to comment, as there is already a system in place. A standing committee is looking into the issue after Trai refused to reduce the prices. The minister said telecom operators have agreed to participate in the auction. “I highlighted to them the need for a robust involvement in 5G innovation, start-ups and creation of 5G products that can create India-specific patents. I said that in the $5-trillion economy target, 25% should be telecom’s contribution,” Prasad said .

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