Troubled Vodafone Idea on Tuesday paid about Rs 3,043 crore to the Department of telecommunications (DoT) towards deferred spectrum dues, PTI reported. While Bharti Airtel paid Rs 1,950 crore to the government, Reliance Jio has also deposited Rs 1,053 crore payment with the DoT.
Deferred spectrum dues are essentially installment payments that are made by telcos for airwaves bought in past auctions. The move assumes significance as VIL has been under financial pressure and is confronted with AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) liabilities of over Rs 53,000 crore.
VIL has so far paid Rs 3,500 crore in two tranches towards its AGR liabilities. Quoting sources PTI confirmed that the company has made the payment of around Rs 3,043 crore towards deferred spectrum liability. This is the last lot of payments that telcos will make towards deferred spectrum liabilities, as the Union Cabinet had late last year approved a two-year moratorium on such spectrum payment dues.
The development comes days after the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), a body representing the telecom industry, has urged the government to provide relief to improve the health of the telecom sector which is reeling under the adjusted gross revenue crisis.
The COAI in a letter to Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, asked for easier terms for payment of statutory dues by telcos, including an extension of loans at lower interest rates to cover AGR liabilities, and also a fast implementation of floor prices to rescue the troubled sector.
Reliance Jio has also deposited Rs 1,053 crore payment with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Earlier in the day, Tata Teleservices paid an additional amount of about Rs 2,000 crore to the telecom department on ad hoc basis towards their AGR liabilities, PTI reported. The additional payment of over and above Rs 2,197 crore it has already submitted to the government, is aimed at covering any reconciliation differences.
The government estimated Tata's dues at about Rs 14,000 crore.