Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) might get a total of Rs 22,000 crores back from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) if they opt for the moratorium of spectrum payments for the next four years. The Rs 22,000 crores in concern here are the Bank Guarantees (BGs) that the telcos had provided to the DoT. Out of the Rs 22,000 crores, Vodafone Idea will get Rs 14,000 crores and Bharti Airtel will get Rs 8,000 crores.
Since telcos won’t have to pay spectrum dues for the next four years, there’s no point for the DoT to keep BGs provided by the telcos in the same time period. A person aware of the matter told ET Telecom that both Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel stand to get back BGs from the government.
This will boost the cash flow position of both the companies because that is a significant amount of money for the telcos. Vi will be able to invest more in its networks. Further, this places the telcos in a good position just before the arrival of 5G era in India. All of them including Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel, and Reliance Jio will be able to compete fairly and with almost the same advantages.
This is even good news for the lenders who are largely exposed to Vodafone Idea (Vi) with Bank Guarantees (BGs) to the DoT.
Bharti Airtel Will Opt for Moratorium
Many were questioning if Airtel would go for the moratorium benefit since it involves a significant amount of interest. But Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, cleared it for us when he said Airtel will go for the moratorium of payments. Mittal further said that Airtel will be looking at the rules and policies around the government taking a token stake in the company by converting the interest dues accrued over time into equity. The government is expected to come out with the rules regarding this very soon.