Telcos failing to pay AGR dues get interim DoT relief

New Delhi: The telecom department has decided to not take any coercive action against the telecom operators who did not pay AGR dues by the deadline that ended on Thursday, official sources said.

Leading telcos Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have informed the Department of Telecom that they would not pay their total AGR dues of Rs 88,624 crore by January 23 and would comply with the outcome of modification petition filed before the Supreme Court which is listed for hearing next week, an official source said.

Reliance Jio, the largest telco in terms of subscriber base, however, paid Rs 195 crore to the DoT to clear all adjusted gross revenue dues accounted till January 31, 2020.

Official sources said that the Director of Licensing Finance Policy (LFP) Wing has issued directions that concerned departments should not take any coercive action against the licensees in case they fail to comply with the Supreme Court order, until further orders.

The direction was issued following approval of Member, (Finance), who heads all departments within the DoT that deal in matters related to revenue.

The apex court had given three months to telecom companies from the date of October 24 when it pronounced judgement on statutory dues. The Supreme Court has held that non-telecom revenues have to be considered for calculating statutory dues.

Telecom companies owe the government around Rs 1.47 lakh crore in AGR dues that include Rs 92,642 crore in unpaid licence fee, and another Rs 55,054 crore in outstanding spectrum usage charges.

After the rejection of review petitions by the apex court, telecom companies have moved fresh pleas with regard to working out new schedule of payment of their dues.

Meanwhile, telecom major Airtel's Chief Regulatory Officer Ravi Gandhi has quit his post in the company, it was learnt on Thursday.