Airtel to conserve Rs 40,000 crore cash through moratorium

© Provided by The Times of India

NEW DELHI: A day after the government announced a mega bailout package for the telecom industry, Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal said the company will opt for the four-year moratorium on spectrum and AGR payments, which will help it conserve a cash outgo of Rs 35,000-40,000 crore that would be used for network and other capital expansion programmes.

“Overall cash flows of the government has to be invested back in the country and industry. It has to be utilised. There will be no dividend from this,” said Mittal.

Mittal also pitched greater collaboration between various telecom companies on the front of infrastructure — such as fibre, spectrum and towers — so that a strong network can be built for consumers.

He said he will talk to rivals such as Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Jio, after having initiated dialogue with Vodafone global CEO Nick Read and his Indian partner and industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla.

“Ambani in his statement yesterday said that it’s time for the industry to come together… and build connectivity network for the digital vision of India. Responding to that statement, I would say, yes, time has come for all of us, the three plus one government operator, to close ranks, and to start to work together, work as Team India, for the telecommunications and digital dream, rather than being fierce competitors. All this while we will compete in the marketplace.”

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