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DoT’s UP circle seeks telecom AGR due payments by Friday midnight

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) The Department of Telecom’s (DoT) Controller of Communication Accounts (CCA) Uttar Pradesh (West) telecom circle has asked all telecom service providers under it to pay their licence fees and spectrum usage charges (SUC) by 11.59 p.m. on Friday.

The order signed by the Joint CCA said: “With reference to the payment of outstanding dues of licensing finance (LF) and SUC you are hereby directed to make the payment of outstanding dues of LF and SUC by February 14, 2020, 11.59 P.M. positively”.

On the other hand, the DoT on Friday directed all telecom licensees to make an “immediate” payment in compliance with the Supreme Court order of October 24 last year, without mentioning any time or specifically mentioning Friday.

In response, Bharti Airtel on Friday informed the DoT that it is currently in the process of completing the self-assessment exercise as per the earlier DoT direction on the AGR quantum to be paid to the government and would deposit Rs 10,000 crore by February 20 as part of the payment.

This implies that the deadline February 14 at 11.59 p.m. for “immediate” payment is not applicable in this case.

Bharti Airtel said the self-assessment of 22 circles, multiple licenses and over a substantial period of time is a complicated time consuming process.

“Nevertheless in compliance with the judgement of SC (Supreme Court) and their direction today, we shall deposit a sum of Rs 10,000 crore on account by February 20 on behalf of Bharti group of companies — Bharti Airtel, Bharti Hexacom and Telenor India. We are confident that we will complete the self assessment exercise shortly and make the balance payment we before the next date of hearing fixed by the SC”, Airtel said in a letter to DoT’s Finance Member, who is overseeing the entire process.

The next hearing is on March 17. Earlier, the licensing finance wing of the DoT in a letter to the telcos said: “This office letter from LFP of January 23, 2020, (on no coercive order to pay AGR dues) stands withdrawn with immediate effect. It is directed to take immediate necessary action in compliance with the judgement of October 24, 2019, of the Supreme Court.”

This letter is marked to the telecom licensees with a direction to make payments in compliance with Supreme Court order of October 24, 2019.

As per DoT calculations, Airtel has to pay Rs 35,500 crore, Vodafone Idea has to pay Rs 53,000 crore and Tata Teleservices has to pay a little over Rs 12,500 crore.

Telcos owe Rs 1.47 lakh crore to DoT on account of pending adjusted gross revenue (AGR).

As directed by the court, the DoT on Friday withdrew its earlier directions granting protection to telcos from coercive action for defaulting after the Supreme Court took a strong view of the non-compliance of its order on payment of statutory dues by telecom companies. The DoT withdrew its order immediately after the Supreme Court on Friday directed the managing directors and directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action be not taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay AGR of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the DoT.

Vodafone Idea on Friday postponed its post-earnings conference call with analysts, which was earlier scheduled for the same day.

“Further to our letter dated February 11, 2020, on results conference call scheduled for February 14, 2020. We hereby wish to inform that the aforesaid conference call has been postponed,” Vodafone Idea said in a regulatory filing.

The filing, late evening on Thursday, said the new date of the conference call would be intimated separately but did not give any reason for the postponement.




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CanIndia New Wire Service

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