Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to Get Clarity Over AGR Dues Issue on February 3

As per a new notification and the SC website, the hearing on the modification plea will be held on February 3

Highlights
  • The modification petition was filed by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea
  • Only Reliance Jio has paid the dues till now
  • The deadline for paying the AGR dues has already lapsed on January 23

The telecom companies in India have been facing a tough time in the industry with the statutory dues looking them in the face. The deadline for the payment of these dues is already over on January 23, but the telecom companies have missed the deadline owing to the legal affair that is going on in the Supreme Court. The telecom companies, namely Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices filed a modification plea in the Supreme Court asking if they could negotiate the timeline of the payment for the AGR dues themselves with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). As per a new ET Telecom report on the matter, the Supreme Court website has listed that the matter is up for hearing on February 3, 2020. A notification has informed that the petition has been listed for February 3.

bharti-airtel-clarity-agr-matter

Telcos to Get Easier Payment Terms if Decision is Favourable

This means that on February 3, 2020, we will get to see some development in the matter. The fate of the telecom companies and their financial health also depends on what the outcome of the case would be in the Supreme Court. To recall, the telecom companies have filed the modification petition in the Supreme Court to ask permission from the Court to negotiate payment terms with the DoT. If the outcome falls in favour of the telcos, then they would get to enjoy better payment terms and would be able to mitigate a significant financial dent in the coming months.

Telecom Companies Arranging Funds to Pay Off Dues

The telecom companies in total, owe Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Out of all the telcos, Vodafone Idea owes Rs 53,000 crore to the DoT on account of Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC), license fees, interests and penalties. On the other hand, Bharti Airtel owes around Rs 35,500 crore to the DoT. All the companies are coming up with ways to procure the funds for paying off these dues. Bharti Airtel has done rights and share issue worth $3 billion to pay off the AGR dues, whereas Tata Teleservices might tap into the profits of its Tata Sons’ owned company, TCS for paying off the dues.

Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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