Fortune India - March 2020

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Today, the telecom sector is in the throes of what is arguably its biggest crisis ever, with mounting debt, poor infrastructure, unreliable service, and one of the three major players—Vodafone Idea—teetering on the brink of collapse. How did this storied industry come to this moment? The answer lies in a few things. In our cover story this month, Aveek Datta and T. Surendar take a detailed look at how the cookie crumbled for India’s telecom sector and where it stands now. With the Supreme Court refusing to budge on its verdict, the government finds itself in a bind: While the government must recover the dues and comply with the court order, letting Vodafone Idea collapse will have serious repercussions on the economy as a whole and send terribly wrong signals globally. The situation has the potential to reduce the sector to a duopoly, given Jio’s financial might and Airtel’s stated ability to cough up the AGR dues. The story is full of twists and turns, with new developments taking place every day. Read on to find more and much finer details.

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