‘Bharti Airtel hopeful of balanced approach on AGR’

Telecom major seeks formulation of a ‘constructive mechanism in the best interest of all parties ‘ Bharti Airtel on Wednesday expressed hope that the government would take a ‘balanced approach’ on the issue of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) to ensure long-term viability of the industry. The statement comes a day after the government set up a panel of secretaries to examine the financial stress in the telecom sector and recommend measures to deal with it. The company on Tuesday announced it was deferring its financial results for the second quarter to November 14 citing the need for clarity on the AGR matter following a recent Supreme Court. The company also said that it is approaching the Department of Telecom to seek clarity on the total amount involved and to request their support to deal with the ‘adverse outcome’. Pointing out that the Supreme Court decision had come at a time when the sector was facing severe financial stress, Badal Bagri, chief financial officer, Bharti Airtel, said during the conference call with investors, “It is indeed in the best interest of all parties to formulate a constructive mechanism to ensure large levies, including this one at hand, be resolved in a fair manner.” Mr. Bagri said at the beginning of the call that the company was evaluating the judgment in detail and its overall implication and would not be able to comment on it much. Asked about the possibility of a tariff increase given that Reliance Jio had started charging consumers for voice calls, Airtel Chief Executive Officer Gopal Vittal said since this was passing off as a regulatory charge [IUC] with a promise of roll-back “we don’t see this as [a] tariff increase… so we are not doing anything about it and await the consultation on the TRAI paper and will then take appropriate action.”

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-business/bharti-airtel-hopeful-of-balanced-approach-on-agr/article29836944.ece

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