AGR dues: Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea to pay only after Supreme Court hearing, Reliance Jio to pay Rs 177 cr

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New Delhi | Updated: January 23, 2020 3:43:29 PM

Both companies have requested the Department of Telecom (DoT) to give them time to make payment based on the outcome of their modification petition listed for hearing before the Supreme Court next week, sources said.

Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, AGR review plea, AGR dues, telecom AGR dues, Fitch RatingsThe apex court has set January 23 as the deadline to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues. (Reuters)

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have communicated to the telecom department that they will not pay AGR dues of Rs 88,624 crore, the deadline for which ends on Thursday, and will wait for the outcome of modification petition listed for hearing before the Supreme Court next week, according to official sources.

The apex court has set January 23 as the deadline to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues. Both companies have requested the Department of Telecom (DoT) to give them time to make payment based on the outcome of their modification petition listed for hearing before the Supreme Court next week, sources said.

New entrant Reliance Jio, however, is likely to make payment of Rs 177 crore towards AGR liability on it. “Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have communicated to the DoT that they will not be making payment on January 23 when the last date to clear AGR ends. They have said they will comply with the outcome of modification petition filed before the Supreme Court which is listed for hearing next week,” a source said.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and other telecom companies owe the government as much as Rs 1.47 lakh crore in past statutory dues. Tata Communications, in which the government holds 26.12 per stake, has also made no provision for DoT’s demand of Rs 6,633 crore for AGR dues as the Supreme Court order did not include appeal of the company which is still pending before the apex court.

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The company said it has replied to the demand cum notice sent by the DoT in September quarter 2019 but has not received any response from the department. Telecom companies owe the government Rs 92,642 crore in unpaid licence fee, and another Rs 55,054 crore in outstanding spectrum usage charges. These liabilities arose after the Supreme Court in October held that non-telecom revenues have to be considered for calculating statutory dues.

Outstanding SUC (spectrum usage charges) dues of various telecom service providers as on October 31, 2019, added to Rs 55,054 crore. The government has directed the licensees to make the payments in accordance with the order of the Supreme Court dated October 24, 2019, and submit requisite documents within the stipulated time frame.

In the case of Bharti Airtel, the liabilities added up to nearly Rs 35,586 crore, of which Rs 21,682 crore is licence fee and another Rs 13,904.01 crore is the SUC dues (not including the dues of Telenor and Tata Teleservices). In the case of Vodafone Idea, this number stands at a cumulative Rs 53,038 crore, including Rs 24,729 crore of SUC dues and Rs 28,309 crore in licence fee.

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