AGR issue: Vodafone Idea to pay Rs 3500 crore by Feb 21

Vodafone Idea will pay 35 billion rupees or $490 million towards dues to India government by Feb. 21, Reuters reported.
Vodafone Idea 4G network
The Indian government last week ordered mobile service providers to make payment towards AGR dues after the Supreme Court threatened the companies and officials with contempt proceedings for failing to implement an earlier ruling.

Vodafone Idea, a venture between the Indian unit of Britain’s Vodafone Group and billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Idea Cellular, will pay 25 billion rupees to the government on Monday and another 10 billion by Friday, ET Now reported earlier.

Vodafone Idea owes roughly $3.9 billion to India government in dues, interest and penalties.

Bharti Airtel said on Monday it had made a payment of 100 billion rupees toward the AGR dues.

Vodafone Idea is the most fragile of India’s three major wireless carriers and if it shuts shop, the market would shape up as a duopoly of rivals Airtel and Reliance Industries’ Jio.

Vodafone Idea has previously said its ability to continue as a business was contingent on the Supreme Court allowing it to modify issues such as payment timelines with the government.

“Given the government’s keenness on maintaining three private telcos, we believe the Department of Telecommunications or the government will request the Supreme Court to negotiate AGR payments with telcos,” said analyst Vivekanand Subbaraman of research firm Ambit Capital.

“While there is a concern that Vodafone is against the wall, there is a slim hope that they will get through,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of research at Motilal Oswal Financial Services in Mumbai.