Vodafone Idea Pays Rs 1,367 Crore To Government In License Fee, Spectrum Charges
Advertisements for Vodafone India Ltd. and Idea Cellular Ltd. are displayed on a street in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Vodafone Idea Pays Rs 1,367 Crore To Government In License Fee, Spectrum Charges


Telecom operator Vodafone Idea Ltd. has submitted about Rs 1,367 crore to the government towards licence fee and spectrum usage charges paid for the March-ended quarter.

Sources said the Department of Telecom has received the payment made by Vodafone Idea this week and added that other operators had already submitted their dues.

When contacted, Vodafone Idea spokesperson declined to comment on the latest payment, or how it was funded.

Sources, meanwhile, said that Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd. had already made their stipulated payments of about Rs 1,600 crore and 1,440 crore, respectively towards licence fee and SUC for the recently-concluded quarter.

Industry body Cellular Operators' Association of India had last month approached the DoT seeking extended timeline for telcos to make the statutory Q4 payments, which otherwise fall due on March 25.

Citing the "unprecedented circumstances" in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, the COAI had requested that the compliance requirement, which requires operators to pay up by March 25, be allowed to be made by April 30, 2020 without any interest payment.

Also read: Telecom Sector Will Not Be Impacted By Covid-19: ICRA Report

It had urged DoT for necessary instructions and clarifications to field offices in this regard.

Sources, however, said that Vodafone Idea made the payment as no extension in timeline was granted on the dues, after the industry association's submissions to the DoT.

As it is, the telecom industry is confronted with adjusted gross revenue liabilities (past statutory dues) of up to Rs 1.69 lakh crore for 16 entities.

The self-assessment of past dues estimated by telecom companies like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Group were a whopping Rs 82,300 crore short of what the telecom department had calculated after the Supreme Court’s ruling on adjusted gross revenue.

Also read: Airtel To Pay April Salaries Of Nearly 25,000 Staff Employed By Distributors, Retail Franchisees

The apex court had previously lashed out at the telcos for trying to reopen the dues they owed to the government through the self-assessment exercise.

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These dues arose after the Supreme Court, in October last year, upheld the government's position on including revenue from non-core businesses in calculating the annual AGR of telecom companies, a share of which is paid as licence and spectrum fee to the exchequer.

In March, following an approval by the Cabinet, an application was moved before Supreme Court (on March 16, 2020) seeking its permission for the licensees impacted by the AGR judgement to pay the unpaid amount of past DoT assessed/calculated dues in annual instalments over 20 years.

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