‘Vodafone on Its Last Legs’: Financial Express’ Sunil Jain on AGR

Is the Indian Telecom sector set to become a duopoly? Sunil Jain, the Managing Editor of Financial Express answers.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 1 September, allowed a period of 10 years for telecom companies to clear adjusted gross revenue (AGR)-related dues.

Speaking to The Quint's Sanjay Pugalia, Sunil Jain, Managing Editor of Financial Express, says that the damage is already done and this might cause Vodafone-Idea to shut shop.

Jain claimed that Vodafone is on its last legs.

SC’s decision came as a relief for Vodafone Idea Ltd, for which survival would have been a concern had the court not agreed to a staggered payment schedule.

Jain decodes the judgment and analyses what went wrong. He elaborates on who is supposed to be held responsible for the mistakes.

“UPA government should’ve scrapped licence fee and spectrum usage charge when they started auctioning spectrums in 2010... Scrapping the fees today won’t help. Government needs to help Vodafone-Idea to protect its own interests.”
Sunil Jain, Managing Editor, Financial Express

However, there will be scope for further petitions, he added.

On being asked if the Indian telecom sector would become a duopoly, Jain considered Jio and Airtel to be stronger players.

“It will essentially be Jio and Bharti Airtel... Vodafone will be a weak player if it survives.”
Sunil Jain, Managing Editor, Financial Express

According to Jain, people have always opted for competition as a way to fix things.

Elaborating on what does this say about the Indian government, Jain said, "Telecom has been affected by bad decisions for several years... India is a difficult place to do business in."

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