Airtel, Vodafone Idea receive DoT notice on AGR dues

Department of Telecom (DoT) has issued notices to all mobile operators asking them to pay up their licence fee dues as per the Supreme Court ruling on the issue of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR).
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The deadline for paying the AGR amount is Rs 83,000 crore is January 24, including Rs 43,000 crore for Airtel and Rs 40,000 crore for Vodafone Idea, according to other media reports.

The two main recipients of the notice, Airtel and Vodafone Idea, will announce their Q2 results on Thursday.

Vodafone Idea and Airtel will have to self-assess their AGR dues for the last 14 years and submit the amount by January 24. If the DoT finds any difference in figures, it will ask them to re-verify with their figures, IANS reports.

If Vodafone Idea and Airtel go to the Supreme Court for review petition before November 24, then only the top court will decide if their petitions are maintainable, depending on the grounds they present on review.

DoT has asked all operators, including Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Virtual Network Operators (VNOs), to do a self-assessment of their respective dues as per the licence conditions, BusinessLine reported.

DoT had submitted a document in the Supreme Court which stated that about 16 mobile operators owed Rs 92,000 crore. DoT had given operator-wise break up of dues, penalties and interest levied.

The latest estimate shows that 41 companies would have to spend nearly Rs 2.27 lakh crore, including penalties.

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read on Tuesday warned that its joint venture with the Aditya Birla Group, Vodafone Idea, could be facing liquidation if it does not get financial support from the Government. Vodafone has called for the dues demanded by the court to be spread over 10 years.

Vodafone Idea has to pay around Rs 28,000 crore and Airtel has to spend about Rs 20,000 crore towards settling the AGR dues.

The DoT’s notice makes one thing clear that the impact of the top court’s decision is not restricted to telecom companies but also a number of public sector units holding Internet service licences such as GAIL India, Power Grid Corporation, Oil India, Delhi Metro and RailTel, the report said.