Debt-laden Vodafone Idea has requested permission to clear its pending adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues over 15 years and asked for concessions on the total amount owed, according to a media report. Apart from this, the telecom provider has also requested a tax refund and the establishment of a floor for tariffs among measures in order to remain viable.
The company also sought a cut in licence fees and has requested to lower it down to 3 percent from the current 8 percent, and SUC (spectrum usage charges) to be brought down to 2 percent from the present 3 percent.
The telecom company owes the maximum amount of money to telecom regulator TRAI and in a letter to the Department of Telecommunications, the finance ministry and Niti Aayog, Vodafone Idea has stated that it is not in a sound financial state and needs help from the government to stay in business. The company reportedly sought a goods and services tax (GST) refund of ₹8,000 crores, which can be adjusted against the dues while seeking the option to pay the remaining sum over a period of 15 years, with an initial three-year moratorium.
Vodafone Idea had sent the letter a day before the meeting of Digital Communications Commission (DCC). The DCC is the highest decision-making body of DoT and the meeting may discuss the steps that could be taken to offer relief to stressed telecom operators like Vodafone Idea and others.
Going by DoT’s estimate, Vodafone Idea, which has over 300 million subscribers, owes more than ₹53,000 crores in AGR dues, where the company has cleared dues worth ₹3,500 crores. However, as per reports, the company’s self-assessment pegs the due amount at ₹23,000 crores.
The telecom operators in India have to pay until March 17 all the dues around AGR worth ₹1.47 lakh crores. Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices are the next two telecom operators with major dues pending after Vodafone Idea.