Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio said on Wednesday that it has paid Rs 30,791 crore to the Department of Telecommunications towards dues on spectrum purchased before March 2021. This includes accrued interest for spectrum purchased in 2014-2016 and spectrum acquired through a right-to-use agreement with Bharti Airtel in 2021.
The liabilities were due in annual instalments from financial year 2022-23 (FY23) to FY35 and carried an interest rate between 9.3 per cent and 10 per cent with an average residual period of over seven years. The firm estimates that this prepayment will result in interest saving of around Rs 1,200 crore each year.
Airtel had last month prepaid Rs 15,514 crore towards spectrum liabilities related to the 2014 purchase to save interest costs.
Jio’s announcement comes two days before the company’s board meeting to finalise the third quarter results. The board is also likely to take up fundraising via non-convertible debentures.
“Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) had executed the first tranche of prepayment in October 2021 pertaining to spectrum acquired in auction in the year 2016,” the company said.
“Subsequent to Department of Telecom’s decision in December 2021 providing the telcos the flexibility to prepay their deferred spectrum liabilities on any date, RJIL has now prepaid in the month of January, the entire deferred liabilities acquired in auction in the year 2014 and 2015 as well as spectrum acquired through trading,” the company said.
The company still has spectrum dues pertaining to last year, when it acquired spectrum in the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2300 MHz bands for a total consideration of Rs 57,123 crore.
While it made an upfront payment of Rs 19,939 crore, it still has to pay the remaining Rs 37,184 crore. According to the terms of last year’s auction, the deferred payments have to be made over 18 years (two-year moratorium plus 16-year repayment period) with interest computed at 7.3 per cent per annum.