Telecom woes mount as DoT’s final calculation of AGR may increase dues
The woes of India’s already-stressed telecom industry only continue to mount, with the amount that the telcos have to pay as dues to the government as part of Adjusted Gross Revenue set to increase.
When the Supreme Court delivered its verdict in the matter in October 2019 — the dues were estimated to be Rs 1.64 lakh crore, but that was only till FY 17. According to the Economic Times, the Department of Telecom is calculating the dues for FY 2018 and 2019, which could make matters a whole lot worse.
PTI reported that the DoT is working on the final figure as it has detected that different accounting practices were being used by circle offices.
Licence fees, interest and penalties that was submitted to the court and the Parliament as part of the AGR matter was Rs 92,642, which is only till FY17. ET reported that the Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) was updated till January 2020.
Reworking this the licence dues could push up the figure by a lot, reportedly by as much as 40%.
This comes at a time when there is already massive disparity between the calculation of the government and the telecom companies themselves with regard to their dues.
An earlier report by the Economic Times stated that the telecom companies estimated their dues to be just half of what the DoT has calculated it to be.
As per DoT's calculations, Airtel owes AGR of Rs 35,500 crore, Vodafone Idea's dues are Rs 53,000 crore and Tata Teleservices, which has been merged with Airtel but its AGR dues are being paid by the Tatas, owes Rs 14,000 crore.
However, the companies have reportedly estimated it to be around Rs 15,000-18,000 crore for Airtel and Rs 18,000-23,000 crore for Vodafone Idea.
However, more bad news could be in store for Airtel. Videocon’s dues could reportedly get added to Airtel due to use case of the spectrum it acquired from the former. This, for Airtel, could mean an increase of Rs 2,041 crore.