Indian telecommunications company Reliance Jio has paid INR 10,792 crore (GBP 1.04 billion) to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for 269.2 MHz of the spectrum it acquired in 2016.
With this, the company has made the full payment with regard to the spectrum bought in the 2016 auction, and the outstandings now pertain to 2014, 2015, and 2021 auctions, said local media reports.
"While Jio had made upfront payments, it has dues of INR 15,000-16,000 crore towards spectrum it acquired in 2014 and 2015. Jio will have to inform the DoT by Friday whether it wants a moratorium for the balance payments, " said a report in the Business Standard. (Crore = ten million)
Jio also bought spectrum worth INR 57,122 crore in the auction this year, but there is a two-year moratorium on the balance payments in 16 annual installments. That is why the 2021 spectrum payments are not included in the recently announced four-year moratorium offer.
The government has offered telcos the option to defer payment of the spectrum auction installments due up to four years, with immediate effect, excluding the installments due for spectrum auction 2021. These deferred amounts will be spread equally over the remaining installments to be paid, without any increase in the existing time period specified for making the installment payments.
The moratorium was part of the government’s revival package for the telecom sector, which offered a combination of cash flow relief for the financially stressed operators and long-term measures like the redefinition of AGR and scrapping of spectrum usage charge in future auctions.
DoT has also offered to convert the dues into equity. Telecom operators have to confirm whether they will utilise this option within 90 days.
Bharti Airtel has already decided to opt for a four-year moratorium on the spectrum and adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues payable to the government. Vodafone has also taken a decision to opt for a moratorium on spectrum dues and has to communicate its stance on AGR dues.