Telecom industry leaders to meet Jaitley, Sinha on June 22

New Delhi: Top telecom leaders, including Sunil Bharti Mittal, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Anil Ambani, are expected to meet Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha on June 22 amid mounting financial stress in the sector.

According to sources, the industry leaders will first discuss the current state of financial stress in the sector with Sinha and later in the day will call on Jaitley.

Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekharan is also learnt to have confirmed his participation, while Reliance Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani is yet to confirm his presence for the meeting called by Sinha.

However, queries sent to Tata Sons and Reliance Jio on whether their chairpersons will participate in the meeting, did not elicit any reply. The meeting will take place after inter-ministerial group finishes its meetings with telecom operators by June 17.

The inter-ministerial group (IMG), created to work on resolving financial woes of the telecom sector, has called Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Aircel and Sistema Shyam Teleservices for a meeting on June 12. The other major players — Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Idea — have been asked for a meeting on June 15 by the panel, according to sources.

The panel has sought details of operations from telecom firms for financial years 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 before June 12. These include their total annual revenue, operational expenses, net profit, market share, return on investments and capital deployed, debt liability from both domestic and foreign lenders, spectrum liability and equity infusion, among others.

As per industry estimates, total debt for the sector is at around Rs 4.5 lakh crore, while revenues are around half of this. RCom has not been able to pay its lenders and has seven months to make repayments.

Vodafone and Idea Cellular have entered into agreement to merge their businesses in India due to low margin and highly competitive environment.