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Import tariffs hike to hurt telcos' network expansion: Report

Import tariffs hike to hurt telcos' network expansion: Report

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MUMBAI: The government, on Thursday, announced a plan to rein in imports and bolster a falling rupee. It will raise import tariffs on several electronic items and communication devices. The tariff hike was the second such move by the government in a two-week span according to Reuters.

The government attempts to raise import barriers to curtail the import of goods it deems as "non-essential" items. The list including wearables like smartwatches, voice over internet protocol equipment and phones, and Ethernet switches, among other items.

Last month, it raised import tariffs on 19 "non-essential items," including air conditioners, refrigerators, footwear, speakers, luggage and aviation turbine fuel, among other items.

The gambit is part of a plan to contain a slide in the rupee, which has weakened more than 14 per cent against the US dollar this year, hit by a rout in emerging markets and other domestic factors such as a widening current account deficit.

The plan, which becomes effective on Friday, will potentially also hurt Indian telecom carriers such as Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Idea, said Neil Shah of tech research firm Counterpoint.

"This will slow down the rollout of high-speed broadband which uses optical fibre and LTE networks," Shah told Reuters, adding however that it could help local telecom equipment makers like Tata Teleservices that manufacture some of this equipment locally.

India announced higher import tax on electronics products such as mobile phones and television sets in December, and then on 40 more items in the budget in February. These include goods as varied as sunglasses, juices and auto components.

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