Vodafone Idea has urged the government for extra time to clear its outstanding quarterly AGR dues, a new ET Telecom report says. Since the entire nation is facing the wrath of COVID-19. The telecom industry is also facing financial distress. Vodafone Idea being one of the major operators in India has not cleared the bank guarantees to safeguard its spectrum payment. To ensure that bank guarantees are not invoked, and licensees are not cancelled, Vodafone Idea has asked for extra time to clear the quarterly AGR dues.
Vodafone Idea has to pay annual spectrum worth 1.7 billion dollars roughly. Also, after the two years moratorium period, the amount will extend to 2 billion dollars because of added interest. The Government is not planning to implement any strict regulations on Vodafone Idea and hamper the active 300 million Subscribers. Since a stable network is the prime need of the country right now, the Government is working with telcos to ensure seamless connectivity in stressful times. Though Government has not cleared the request of Vodafone Idea to provide corporate guarantees instead of Complete Bank guarantees, the entire attention is focused on providing seamless connectivity to telecom subscribers so that they are connected with their loved ones in the lockdown period.
Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio have cleared their quarterly dues along with adequate bank guarantees for spectrum payments. Both the telcos are also contributing towards seamless network connectivity in the lockdown period. Bharti Airtel has extended the free incoming call facility until May 3, 2020. Whereas, Reliance Jio has teamed up with nine different banks to provide recharge facility to Subscribers.
Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged DoT to extend the deadline of AGR payments dues. COAI, who represents Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio stated that telcos are already facing additional pressure to provide network connections to millions of subscribers to cater their needs of entertainment and work from home. Also, since the retail stores are closed, no new SIM cards are being purchased by telecom subscribers which are resulting in substantial financial losses. DoT might also consider the requests of telcos to allow deferment of payment and compliance of license fees until April 30, 2020.