Telecom tariff wars always help consumers: Minister Manoj Sinha
With Reliance Jio launching aggressive 4G plans in India, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said the consumer has always benefitted whenever a tariff war has been unleashed in the country and dismissed concerns that such a pricing structure will impact the government s revenue.
“If you look at the history of the telecom sector over the last 18-20 years, whenever a tariff war has been unleashed, it has benefited the consumer. “I believe that consumer is the king and any government that works for the people will agree to this,” Sinha said.
He was responding to a question here on the tariff war unleashed by Reliance Jio, the telecom venture of Reliance Industries, which is offering free voice calls and data at low price. Sinha, who addressed the Indian community at the Indian Consulate on Thursday, said the telecom sector in India is competitive and if Reliance Jio will make voice calls available at cheap rates, other companies will have to compete to give better quality and rates.
“I feel this will be beneficial for the country,” he said. Sinha, 55, sought to allay concerns expressed in some quarters that such a tariff structure will impact the government s revenue. He said statistics show that may be for the first 3-4 months the revenue will be less but ultimately the government revenue will increase. “The more healthy competition there is, the better it will be,” he said adding there is no need to get concerned over the low tariff structures. “Telecom operators have been preparing for 4G” and if one “operator has come with full preparation, others will also follow suit,” he added. Early this month, Reliance Jio announced free voice calls and free national roaming along with rock-bottom data prices on the new Reliance Jio network. Sinha told the gathering at the Consulate that India s telecom sector has implemented significant reforms over the last two years, since the Narendra Modi government took office.
Most significant among them will be the mega auction of spectrum in a transparent manner next month. “Many reforms have been implemented in the telecom sector over the last two years. Before the Modi government came into power, there was an environment of trust deficit in the country, particularly in the telecom sector.”
But now the sector has emerged from the atmosphere of trust deficit and domestic as well as foreign investors are keen to invest in the sector. He said in the spectrum auction, which “will be completely transparent”, the government will put up for auction 2350 MH spectrum in seven bands.