Millennium Post

Believe govt is aware of telcos' stress; wants to see 3 private, 1 public sector player: Voda Idea CEO

New Delhi: A day after it posted a staggering Rs 50,921 crore loss for the September quarter, Vodafone Idea on Friday said it believes the government is aware of the "tremendous stress" being faced by telcos and wants a healthy sector with three private and one public operator.

In a post-earnings investor call, Vodafone Idea CEO Ravinder Takkar said the company has been engaging "very positively" with the government and that its discussions on telecom stress began even before the AGR ruling was pronounced by the Supreme Court.

"In our engagements...the response of the government has been very consistent. They said they want this sector to be healthy, it is a very strategic sector, too important for the country, too important for Digital India vision...Secondly, they have said to us that they want to see three private players and one public sector player in this sector," Takkar said.

The company believes the Centre is looking at a "comprehensive solution" for the sector with an aim to restore the industry's health, he said.

"We hope to hear something from them very soon," he added.

On a specific question on minimum tariff fixation, Takkar said he did not wish to speculate on how floor price mechanism can be implemented.

"We know it is in the purview of the regulator and government and it can be implemented...We know it has been done in certain other countries in the region, but I don't want to speculate on what they would implement or how they would implement," he said.

Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) plans to monetise its 11.15 per cent stake in Indus Towers on completion of the Indus Towers-Bharti Infratel merger, and is also exploring options to monetise nearly 160,000 kms of intra-city and inter-city fibre as well as data centre.

Akshaya Moondra, chief financial officer of VIL, said the company continues to remain engaged with its financial creditors but asserted that there is no acceleration of payment which has happened.

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