The COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) said TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) that the telecom operators have provided benefits of rupees 600 crores to the users. COAI, the industry body, consists of telecom majors like Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Jio. Telecom Operators Provided 600 Crore Rupees Benefits.
Telecom Operators Provided 600 Crore Rupees Benefits:
The benefits provided by the telcos include validity extensions, providing free Talktime to users.
Telecom companies like BSNL, Airtel have credited rupees 10 to the user’s account without charging from them. These companies have also extended the validity for some users.
COAI Asks For Subsidy:
COAI has also asked TRAI if the government feels they should provide further benefit to the users, the Government should give subsidy to the telecom sector.
According to the report, COAI had suggested the funds for the subsidy be compensated from the Rs 51,500 crore which is unutilized in the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
What Airtel Had To Say:
Airtel said that it offered its prepaid benefits to 80 million low wage customers while Vodafone Idea said that the benefits were offered to nearly 100 million “low income” customers. Neither Vodafone Idea nor Airtel in the releases explained who is considered to be a “low income” customer.
Additionally, COAI in its letter also highlighted that the top three telecom operators had together offered benefits to 280 to 300 million customers. COAI said that the customers who required support from telecom operators were 80 to 100 million.
Rajan Mathews, director of COAI, in his letter to TRAI added that “the sector finds itself in a very unstable situation” due to huge debts. Further, the financial situation of the sector has been “acknowledged by all” with TRAI issuing “a consultation paper on floor prices” to aid the telecom operators. Mathews said that the COAI was “taken back” to see the directive from TRAI sent to the operators.