The Department of Telecom (DoT) received its first Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) payment today, with Bharti Airtel paying Rs. 10,000 (around $1.5 billion) crores of its outstanding AGR dues to comply with a recent Supreme Court order. According to IANS, the company paid Rs. 9,500 crore on behalf of Bharti Airtel and Telenor, which has merged with the parent company, and Rs. 500 crore for Bharti Hexacom, its subsidiary.
The company further said that it is in the process of ‘self assessment of accounts’ and will duly make the balance payments before the next date of hearing on March 17. The company last week had informed the government that it would deposit Rs. 10,000 crores by February 20 to settle part of its AGR dues that now stand at more than Rs. 35,500 crores (around $5 billion) including the original arrears, interest and penalties.
Meanwhile, Vodafone Idea is also said to be currently assessing its AGR dues and will start paying in the next few days. In regulatory filing last week, the company said: “We wish to inform that post the hearing yesterday, the company has received letters from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) directing immediate payment … The company proposes to pay the amount so assessed in the next few days”.
In case you don’t know it already, Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and Tata Teleservices owe the government more than Rs. 1 lakh crore in unpaid AGR dues. According to a report from Mint last month, Bharti Airtel owed around Rs. 35,586 crore (around $5 billion) before today’s payments, while Vodafone Idea is yet to pay its dues worth Rs. 50,000 crore (around $7 billion). Tata Teleservices, which has already exited the wireless sector by selling its mobile services business to Airtel, has outstanding dues of Rs. 14,000 crore (around $2 billion).