Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL)has written to the government seeking help to pay the balance AGR dues. The same letter was also sent to Niti Aayog and the Finance Minister, seeking facilitation of the payment. VIL has dues of Rs 53,000 crore towards Adjusted Gross Revenues (AGR) though its self-assessment is reportedly a much lower figure. Vodafone Idea has so far made a payment of Rs 3,500 crore.
According to Bloomberg Quint, the beleaguered telco has told the government that it cannot pay the full amount and has sought support for the same from the government.
In the letter it sent, VIL has asked for a 15-year payment tenure for the AGR dues and a lower rate of interest of 6%, after a moratorium of three years. VIL has also asked for a floor price to be enforced from April 1. This, it said in the letter, will help the sector be in position to pay the deferred spectrum charges as well as AGR dues and will double the current revenues of the telecom sector, BloombergQuint reported.
This letter was just sent one day prior to the meeting of the Digital Communications Commission to discuss relief measures, which is on Thursday. The meeting will be chaired by DoT Secretary Anshu Prakash and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant may be present among others.
It has also proposed a tariff hike. This reportedly includes fixed connectivity charges of Rs 50 per plan for 28 days, a price of 6 paise per minute for calls that land on other networks, and a data price of Rs 35 per GB.
Alongside this, it has also suggested for a cut in licence fees from 8% to 3% and spectrum usage charges (SUC) to 1% from 3%. This has been an ask of telecom companies for many months now, and the same was submitted in a letter by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) to the Department of Telecommunications in January.
The Economic Times reported that the COAI wrote to the DoT appealing for relief. In a follow-up from previous letter, in this too, the COAI has asked for reducing the licence fee, SUC, and sanction a loan equal to the AGR dues at an interest rate of 6%, among other things.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday that the DoT is taking a call on relief to telcos in respect of the payment towards AGR dues. "Meetings have taken place. DoT is taking a call. We will have to wait for Department to take the call," she said at an event where she met PSU bank chiefs.
Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal from Vodafone Idea chief Kumar Mangalam Birla recently met the Minister and sought relief for the sector.