- These dues are constituted by license fees, spectrum usage charges and more
- Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are also under massive dues
- Reliance Jio has the least dues
The biggest pressure on the telecom companies right now happens to be because of the Adjusted Gross Revenue issue (AGR) which has put the pressure of paying the license fees, and the spectrum charges for these telcos within the next three months. The worst-hit telecom operators in this casualty are, of course, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. But, the state-led telecom operator, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has also been hit, although by a not a big blow. Now in this turn of events, as per a new ET Telecom report, BSNL has asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to waive off the dues worth Rs 4,4990 crore which the telecom operator has to pay after the AGR decision which says that in the calculation of AGR, the telecom operators will also have to consider non-core services as well. When compared to the amount of dues that other telecom operators have to pay, BSNL has been hit by a small blow in the AGR issue. It is worth noting that the other telcos like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have to pay Rs 35,500 and Rs 53,000 crore respectively to the DoT as part of the dues which they owe.
BSNL Sends Letter to DoT
BSNL Chairman PK Purwar has remarked about this, “The AGR impact on BSNL is minimal. We have asked the DoT to waive off the amount payable.” The official also added that the path of equity infusion could also be considered for the payment of dues to DoT. BSNL has to pay a license fee of Rs 2,099 crore and spectrum usage charge (SUC) worth Rs 2,890 crore to the DoT. It is also worth noting that the other telecom operators have not easily gotten away with the AGR dues. The Supreme Court verdict which came on the issue which has been going on in the industry since the start of the decade finally came to an end, when the SC ruled in favour of the government saying that the AGR will be calculated on the non-core services as well.
The worst blow came to Vodafone Idea which has to pay around Rs 53,000 crore to the DoT and Bharti Airtel, which has to pay Rs 35,000 crore. Reliance Jio, on the other hand, has the least pressure on this front as it will only have to pay Rs 60 crore.
Pressure of AGR Dues on Other Telecom Companies
But, the issue of AGR dues has become very decisive for the telecom industry with the resultant coming down to deciding the fate of the telecom operators. Vodafone Idea chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla has said that Vodafone Idea will shut shop if the telecom operator does not receive any relief from the government for the dues which are to be paid. Currently, the only thing that the telcos have received in the form of relief is the two years payment moratorium. Apart from this, there has been no tax relief or pushing of deadlines for the telecom operators.
Bharti Airtel, on the other hand, might opt for raising funds so that it will be able to pay off its dues. Both the telcos have separately filed a review petition in the Supreme Court for the October 24 order. BSNL has also sent a letter to the DoT asking for some relief in the case of AGR dues. It is worth noting that in the FY2019, the telco had posted losses of Rs 13,804 crore.
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.