As per ICRA, the telecom industry expects financial incentives along with reduction in levies to ease the financial burden from the upcoming budget. The industry has also sought clarity on pending issues.

ICRA in its pre-budget expectation note said that the telecom industry has been demanding a reduction in the overall charges paid by the operators particularly licence fee and spectrum usage charges.

Further, the credit rating agency added that the sector has been facing persistent pricing pressure and intense competition, which in addition to continued capex requirement, have kept the industry saddled with elevated debt levels, estimated at Rs 5 trillion as on March 31, 2019.

According to ICRA, the focus should be shifted to fiscal incentive schemes to drive domestic innovations and indigenous manufacturing. The industry should also aim to promote the development of ecosystem around the new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning. Further, steps should be undertaken for boosting infrastructure in rural and remote areas, with stimulus on increasing broadband penetration.