The inter-ministerial group (IMG) on telecom has asked all operators to provide details of their debt including domestic and foreign debt, spectrum liabilities as well as financial and operation performance over the last three fiscals before it starts meeting them from next week. “The panel has asked telcos to give details of their foreign and domestic institutional debt as well as spectrum liabilities on an annual basis for 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. That apart, the operators have to furnish their subscriber market share, ebitda, return on capital employed (RoCE), capex, total income, net profit, free cash flow and equity infusion that they have made over the last three years,” a source said. Operators also have to provide details of their outgoing and incoming minutes of usage on voice; details of data (MB) and SMS traffic as well as revenue from outgoing and incoming calls for both 2014-15 and 2015-16 fiscal on an annual basis and on a quarterly basis for 2016-17, the source added. The government formed the IMG to look into the financial headwinds faced by the industry at a time when it is witnessing declining revenues, stares at a debt burden of Rs 4.6 lakh crore and has to pay auction dues of Rs 3.1 lakh crore over the next 11 years. “The panel wants to acquaint itself with the financial and operational performance of the sector before it starts meeting all the operators from next week to discuss with them ways to revive the telecom industry,” a senior government official explained.
The IMG — which includes official from the departments of telecom, revenue, economic affairs and financial services — is scheduled to meet Reliance Communication, Aircel, MTS and Telenor on June 12; Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular on June 15; and state-run telecom operators BSNL and MTNL on June 17, he added. The telecom industry, which has invested around Rs 3.45 lakh crore in spectrum purchase since 2010, wants the government to raise the two-year moratorium it gets after paying the first instalment to five years and the remaining payment, which is paid over a 10-year period, be extended to 15 years. Of the Rs 3.45 lakh crore of spectrum, the industry has paid Rs 1.90 lakh crore upfront. It needs to pay the balance amount with interest totaling around Rs 3.1 lakh crore over the next 11 years up to 2028-29.