The industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio were fully compliant with a quality of service rules.

He said, "Despite the challenge, Airtel and Reliance Jio were fully compliant with a quality of service rules but Vodafone fully complies to one of the parameter however Idea is marginally non-complied for both the parameters in some circles." "Some States aligning their policy but Local bodies and panchayats are posing challenges to the notified rules," he said. COAI has also raised its concern over stringent call drop rules issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Meanwhile, the industry body has shared its detailed submission on National Telecom Policy 2018. "At this time, the industry is in a downward spiral. Cumulative debts amounting to Rs 4.6 lakh crore on revenues of under Rs 1.8 lakh crore are forcing the industry to question the long-term prospects and viability of the sector. The industry has suggested a number of options to the telecom regulator when it was conducting the consultation process, including reduction of Spectrum Usage Charge to a uniform 1 percent (of AGR) and create a Telecom Finance Corporation as a vehicle to mobilize and channelize financing," Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI, said while highlighting the recommendations. Other submissions included the USO fund contribution be rationalized to 3 percent and ultimately be done away within 2-3 years. The financial health and longer-term sustainability of the sector are paramount, without which, there can be no futuristic technologies or scalable innovation, Mathews added. "Creating an enabling environment for technologies considered science fiction, just a few years ago - AI, AR, IoT, Smart city, smart homes, 5G so on and so forth. It will focus on simplifying the regulatory frameworks to aid in quality connectivity-for-all and easing the turf for ease of doing business, make way for foreign investments and strengthen the existing infrastructure," Mathews added further.

COAI said huge investments of over Rs 2-3 lakh crores over the next couple of years would be required for a fully connected and an empowered Digital India.- Gizbot


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