Bharti Airtel CEO, Gopal Vittal on Wednesday asserted that a country like India needs three private players in the telecom industry. His comments come in the wake of Vodafone Idea’s struggle to stay afloat due to the share crash.
“I think just from a national perspective, it would be appropriate to see an industry structure where three players not just survive but thrive and of course the government player is always there,” he said.
“There is clearly a situation of serious financial stress in the industry and we have seen one of the players actually saying to the government that they may not be able to pay their dues coming up in March 2022. We hope that the government does something to provide some relief to the industry.” He further added.
According to Vittal, recent changes effected by Airtel in some of its plans are a step towards raising average revenue per user (ARPU), which is currently “abysmally low”.
He also indicated that Airtel, which already has a premium positioning in the market, may not initiate a broader tariff revision unilaterally and risk any erosion of customers and competitiveness.
When asked about the Supreme Courts’ dismissal of applications by telcos for recalculation of AGR-related dues, Vittal said while Airtel is “disappointed” with the outcome, the company has provisioned for the onerous payout and already paid over Rs 18,000 crore covering its obligations for the first few years.