India's private operators, namely Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea (Vi), have all paid their dues amounting to Rs. 5000 crores towards the spectrum usage charges (SuC) and license fee (LF) for the quarter ending March 2021.
The telcos should pay the dues for the January-March quarter by March 25, and if there is a small balance due, it should be paid by the end of March since it is the end of the financial year.
According to an ET Telecom report, an industry executive aware of the development said that the three major telcos had made the payments without causing any delay, terming it as a good sign.
Vi has delayed payments in the earlier quarters due to liquidity issues but has paid timely on this occasion.
In each circle, the payment is generally made looking at the revenues for the three months. It is worth noting that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) hasn’t come out with the final amount of dues yet; however, the figure paid by the operators is similar to what they paid in the previous quarters.
Payments During Last Quarter
According to payments made in the previous quarter ending December 31, Airtel had paid around Rs 1,600 crore, Jio around Rs 2,000 crore, and Vi had paid Rs 2,000 crore.
Do note that the LF and SuC that the telcos pay is about 8% and 3%-5% of their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.
The payments from the telcos come at a time when they are already burdened with the AGR dues payments that they have to make in the next 10 years. Airtel’s total AGR dues were amassed at Rs 26,000 crores, and Vi’s total dues were assessed at Rs 50,400 crores.
Both the operators have filed a case for the same at the Supreme Court (SC), arguing that DoT had made major errors while calculating the dues. The SC is yet to hear on the case.
Airtel and Vi have asked for a recalculation of the AGR dues with their own inputs.