Telecos to lose $400 million on abolition of roaming charges

Global rating firm Fitch said the draft NTP’s indication to remove roaming charges is negative for Indian telecom companies as revenue from this segment accounts for 4% to 7% of overall revenue of the service providers

New Delhi: Abolition of roaming charges as proposed in the draft National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2011 is expected to result in a revenue loss of about $400 million for leading telecom service providers, reports PTI.

“The Indian roaming market is estimated to be around $600 million (roaming charges plus call tariffs). Telecom operators together will lose to the tune of $400 million if it is implemented,” telecom industry leader at Ernst and Young, Prashant Singhal, told PTI.

He, however, added that the real impact can be assessed based on the elasticity of demand.

“The demand may rise in future but I don’t see much impact on elasticity of demand. Falling tariffs have encouraged people in making calls while they are on roaming,” he said.

Meanwhile, global rating firm Fitch said the draft NTP’s indication to remove roaming charges is negative for Indian telecom companies as revenue from this segment accounts for 4% to 7% of overall revenue of the service providers.

Gartner Research director Kamlesh Bhatia said operators having a major market share will tend to lose revenue.

“Ambiguity has now shifted from vision to execution. We will have what mechanism is adopted by the final policy to compensate telecom operators,” Mr Bhatia said.

On the other hand CMDA industry body Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (Auspi) supported government’s move to abolish roaming charges.

“It is a move which will empower subscribers and Auspi will supports government's move to abolish roaming charges,” Auspi secretary general SC Khanna said.

Spokesperson of GSM industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) was not available for comments.

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Govt to decide sugar exports for 2011-12 after Diwali

Food minister KV Thomas, who briefed finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on sugar, among other issues, said: “There is a difference of 4 lakh tonnes between the estimates of food and agriculture ministries. We will get correct picture about sugar output after the festival season that is end-October”

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday said it will consider permitting sugar exports for the current marketing year, which started this month, only after the Diwali festival, reports PTI.

In the 2010-11 marketing year (October-September), the government had allowed exports of 2.6 million tonnes of sugar.

“We will take a call on sugar exports for the current marketing year after Diwali (which is on 26th October),” Food minister KV Thomas told PTI.

Exports will be allowed in phases and the quantity of outbound shipments will be decided after reconciling the production estimates for 2011-12, he said.

Mr Thomas, who briefed finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on sugar, among other issues, said: “There is a difference of 4 lakh tonnes between the estimates of food and agriculture ministries. We will get correct picture about sugar output after the festival season that is end-October.”

Last month, the food ministry had pegged sugar output at 24.6 million tonnes for the year from 24.3 million tonnes in 2010-11. The ministry’s estimates are, however, lower than the agriculture ministry's estimate of 25 million tonnes.

Cooperative sugar industry body National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) had demanded that the government should allow four million tonnes of export in 2011-12 to help mills dispose of surplus production and arrest falling domestic prices.

Mr Thomas also said the availability of the sweetener for the current month is sufficient to meet the demand and the retail prices are ruling stable.

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Banks to get Rs6,000 crore more from home loans on rising rates

Crisil noted that the floating interest rate for home loan borrowers has increased by around 250 basis points (bps) since April 2010, due to continuous hike in key policy rates. This corresponds to an average rise of 15% in EMIs

Mumbai: Rising interest rates will push up the equated monthly instalments (EMIs) of home loan borrowers by Rs6,000 crore annually, reports PTI quoting leading research agency Crisil.

“Crisil estimates that rising interest rates would increase the EMIs of home loan borrowers by about Rs6,000 crore annually,” the rating agency said in a statement here.

Higher EMIs and a slowdown in economic growth would result in a rise in non-performing assets (NPAs) of financiers, while the teaser loan portfolio getting linked to the prevailing higher market rates in April 2012, would increase the profitability of financiers, it said.

Crisil noted that the floating interest rate for home loan borrowers has increased by around 250 basis points (bps) since April 2010, due to continuous hike in key policy rates. This corresponds to an average rise of 15% in EMIs.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has increased its key policy rates by a record 12 times in the past 19 months to control inflation.

“As per our estimates, EMIs have increased for 40% of existing floating rate customers, while the remaining customers have chosen to increase their tenures or do a part payment. Customers paying higher EMIs face an estimated additional annual burden of around Rs3,500 crore,” it said.

Crisil said the higher rates have not yet affected customers who have opted for teaser loan schemes, as the rates are fixed for the initial two-three years.

It found that 25% of the housing loan portfolio of Rs5.10 lakh crore as of March 2011, comprises teaser loans.

“Once interest rates get reset to prevailing market rates (from April 2012), we estimate an additional EMI burden of Rs2,000-Rs2,500 crore annually on this account,” Crisil noted.

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