Industry body COAI stated that an investment of around Rs 9,000 crore to set up 60,000 mobile towers by operators was stalled in the last fiscal due to roadblocks created by the state and local body policies on infrastructure rollout.
As reported by Money Control, the difference between the rules at state level and the guidelines notified by the Centre for roll out of telecom networks adversely impacted around Rs 9,000 crore investment meant for setting up of mobile towers and in-turn quality of services.
COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said to Money Control that in the last fiscal year, COAI were to set-up 1.5 lakh towers but due to challenges imposed by state government policies and local bodies, industry was unable to install 60,000 towers.
He informed that each tower costs us around Rs 15 lakh. Investment related to these towers could not be made in last fiscal. Further Mathews stated that that operators are willing to make investment to improve services but states and local bodies are not aligning their policies with that of the Department of Telecom’s. However concern has been raised by The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) over stringent call drop rules issued by TRAI in midst of right of way (RoW) policy issue.
Mathews said to Money Control that despite the challenge, Airtel and Reliance Jio were fully compliant with quality of service rules. Vodafone is fully complied to one of the parameter and mostly to others. Idea is marginally non-complied for both the parameters in some circles. Aircel has significant non-compliance, driven principally by their recent financial problems.
Mathews said that despite huge debt and margins of telecom operators declining, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio have committed to invest over Rs 70,000 crore in networks only. He alleged state-government and local bodies arbitrarily bring down tower without following guidelines notified by the centre.