DoT to issue notices to 5 errant telecom operators for misreporting revenues


DoT has announced its
decision to issue notices to five mobile operators for misreporting revenues,
in the hope of paying lower license fees to the government. According to
reports, the telecom firms to be targeted by DoT for the same will include
Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices
and Vodafone Essar.


This is not the first time
that this issue has sprung up. In the past as well, leading service providers
have tried to conceal facts relating to annual revenues, ARPUs, license fees
and even subscriber numbers – which is the main reason why the VLR system was introduced
by the government to efficiently track faulting operators.


As per TRAI data, for the quarter ending March
2011, the total revenues of
Bharti Airtel stood at INR 125,120 million and Vodafone posted INR 77,997 million, while Idea Cellular’s revenue was INR 48,989 million, Reliance Communications
generated revenues of

INR 43,507 million, while Tata group reported revenues of  INR 39,220 million.


However, according to a
special audit conducted by 
CAG on the revenue accounting practices of these
companies, these revenue figures are either inflated or less than the actual
amount, leading to low license fees being paid to the government, and in turn
causing a loss to the ex-chequer. 


According to TRAI’s
consolidated data of spectrum and license fees paid to the government of India
in the April-June quarter 2011, Airtel paid
 Rs 1,177.48 crore towards charges and fees while Vodafone paid  an amount of Rs 702.34 crore, Idea Cellular
497.94 crore, Tata Teleservices paid Rs 308.38 crore and
Communications paid Rs 263.27 crore.
figures may not be in line with the actual license fees and charges to be paid,
in case reported revenues are incorrect.


The response to these
notices by the telecom firms in question will determine the next step of action
by DoT, as well as future steps to be taken in this regard. 


By Rashi Varshney
[email protected]