Vodafone Idea Begs For Government Succour


Vodafone Idea appealed to India’s government to allow it more time to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, arguing it needs financial relief to stay in business, The Economic Times (ET) reported.

In a letter to the Department of Telecommunications and the Finance Ministry, the operator asked to pay its dues of INR530 billion (US$7.4 billion) over 15 years, after an initial three-year moratorium, and sought a goods and services tax (GST) refund as well as reductions in licence fees and spectrum usage charges, ET wrote. The operator called for a GST refund of INR80 billion, which it can use to pay AGR dues, and for the annual spectrum licence fee to be cut from 8 per cent to 3 per cent.

The company also wants to the government to set a tariff floor, which is something it is currently considering.

Vodafone Idea, along with rival Bharti Airtel, had been pushing for additional time to make the payments without incurring further penalties and interest, but the Supreme Court did not grant any relief.

In early February, Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read again vowed not to support the operation with fresh capital, also requesting relief from the government.

A DoT commission was expected to soon start discussing relief measures for the mobile section, ET said.

Vodafone Idea has only paid INR35 billion in government dues, with the remainder due on 17 March.-Mobile World Live

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