New Delhi: Telecom Secretary Anshu
Prakash on Monday said no reference has been sent to TRAI on setting
floor price on tariffs and the Digital Communications Commission will
meet in the second half of December where it may take up the issue of
Tariffs are under TRAI and under forbearance
and the government cannot intervene. There is no reference from DoT to
TRAI on any floor price for tariffs, Prakash said.
mobile tariffs are under forbearance, which means operators have a free
hand in fixing rates as they only have to report tariff plans to TRAI
within seven days of the launch.
The issue of floor price was
being discussed by a secretary panel as a step to check further erosion
of losses by the telcos and to boost the financial health of the sector.
The panel has already submitted its recommendations where a two-year
moratorium was given to telcos on spectrum dues payment.
He also added the DoT is trying to hold the auction in the current fiscal.
"That's the target to hold auction in this fiscal", Prakash said adding spectrum price issues have to be discussed within DoT.
AGR, the secretary said the department will try to recover legitimate
dues that the telcos owed to the government. On the issue of non telecom
companies coming under AGR, he said DoT has been collecting licence
fees and spectrum fees not just from telcos but also from non-telecom
companies like PGCIL, Gail, and RailTel.
Airtel, Vodafone Idea
and Tata Teleservices have filed review petitions before Supreme Court
against the AGR order where they have been asked to cough up
approximately Rs 1.02 lakh crore together.
In 2017 when Reliance
Jio entered the telecom space with free data and voice tariffs there was
near mayhem in the sector when existing telcos approached the regulator
to consider setting up a floor price as their revenue streams started
shrinking. Back then, TRAI had said a floor price "was not a workable
idea" and, subsequently, operators too were in agreement.
Floor price means it will be a loose intervention by the state on price. Prices are seen as market forces dynamics.