After Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel goes for a 4-year moratorium on dues of the spectrum, AGR payment

The government granted the choice of dues moratorium to telcos as part of a recently-announced relief package for the telecom sector.

Bharti Airtel has notified the government that it will choose the four-year moratorium on AGR and spectrum dues after Vodafone Idea, news agency PTI reported. Vodafone Idea had earlier said its board has chosen the AGR payment moratorium from October 2021 to September 2025. The initial telco to receive the portion under the Department of Telecom’s recently begun telecom relief package.

On Monday, Airtel stock dropped 0.53% to close at ₹690.80 on NSE. Last month, Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal said the company would opt for a payment moratorium and redirect the cash flow to build networks aggressively. The government granted the choice of dues moratorium to telcos as part of a recently-announced relief package for the telecom sector.

However, the telecom firms will have to pay interest during the moratorium period. Also, the government will have a choice to transform the due amount about the deferred payment into equity at the end of the moratorium/deferment period.

The measures, directed at granting relaxation to companies such as Vodafone Idea that have to pay thousands of crores in unprovisioned past statutory dues, also involve the scrapping of Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for airwaves received in future spectrum auctions. The PTI report said that Airtel told the government that it would take the four-year moratorium on AGR and spectrum dues “with the option of prepaying as per NIA (notice inviting application) norms.

In line with the changes revealed for the telecom sector, the government lately addressed to telcos, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio, urging them to communicate by October 29 if they would be opting for the four-year dues moratorium. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has also provided 90 days to the workers to show if they want to convert the interest amount about the moratorium period into equity.

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