CEOs of Nokia, Vodafone, Airtel share concerns about India market

Telecom operators and network suppliers have started revealing their concerns about the drop in investment in mobile network in the wake of AGR issues.
Smartphone customers on 4G networkNokia CEO Rajeev Suri said customer demand could weaken and risk could increase further in India, after the country’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that telecoms companies must pay retroactive license and spectrum fees.

Airtel India CEO Gopal Vittal said there may be some increase in Capex in the immediate future, but overall, it will be significantly lower than the peak Capex of Rs 24,000 crore two years ago.

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read said on Wednesday that the outlook for its joint venture in India, Vodafone Idea, remains critical.

Vodafone Idea

The outlook for Vodafone Idea remains critical. Vodafone Idea is actively seeking various forms of relief from the Indian Government to ensure that the rate and level of payments it makes to the Indian Government is sustainable and it can meet its other commitments as they fall due,” Vodafone Group said in its third quarter earnings statement.

Airtel India

India needs a three-player market and Vodafone India will remain operational. The industry’s average revenue per user (ARPU) needs to move up further to ensure viability of the sector, Gopal Vittal said in a post-earnings analysts call.

Indian telecom industry ARPU needs to move to about Rs 300 in the long term to provide a right balance between customer escalation and sector investments, Gopal Vittal said.

Airtel has shut down 3G in 11 circles and re-farmed spectrum to support 4G services, said Badal Bagri, chief financial officer at Bharti Airtel. Airtel has sub-gigahertz spectrum in 11-12 telecom circles.


Nokia does not share details about its India revenue. Nokia’s revenue from the Asia Pacific region including India rose 16 percent to 1,383 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 and grew 12 percent to 4,556 million euros in 2019.