‘New telecom policy’s $100 billion investment estimate conservative’

‘New telecom policy’s $100 billion investment estimate conservative’

Bharti, Jio committed to investing ₹74,000 cr.: COAI’s Mathews

The government’s plan to attract $100 billion (about ₹6.5 lakh crore) investment in the telecom sector by 2022 is conservative, industry body COAI has said.

Just two telecom operators, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, have committed to invest ₹74,000 crore this year alone, which is more than 10% of the total government estimate, COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said.

The government draft of the new telecom policy — ‘National Digital Communications Policy 2018’ — aims to create 40 lakh jobs by 2022, attract $100 billion investment in the sector and ensure broadband coverage at 50 mbps for every citizen. It also proposes to address the woes of debt-ridden telecom sector by reviewing licence fees, spectrum usage charges, universal service obligation fund levy — all of which add to cost of telecom services.

Attracting FDI

“If the policy gets implemented as proposed in the draft, the sector will be able to attract huge amount of foreign direct investments,” he said.

The policy draft proposes adopting “optimal pricing of spectrum” to ensure sustainable and affordable access to digital communications.