The board of Vodafone Idea (Vi) on Wednesday approved taking the government’s offer to avail the four-year spectrum payment moratorium announced earlier as part of the relief package for the telecom sector. In a regulatory filing, Vi said the other options in the DoT’s notification will be considered by the board of directors within the stipulated timeframe.
“We wish to inform you that the board of directors of the company has approved the exercise of the option of deferment of the company’s spectrum auction instalments for a period of 4 years (October 2021 to September 2025) in accordance with the notification dated October 14, 2021 issued by the Department of Telecommunications to the company,” it said.
The Centre recently approved a relief package for the sector that includes a four-year break for companies from paying statutory dues, permission to share scarce airwaves, change in the definition of revenue on which levies are paid and 100 per cent foreign investment via the automatic route.
The measures also include scrapping of spectrum usage charge (SUC) for airwaves acquired in future spectrum auctions. For the past dues, the Centre has allowed a moratorium or deferment of up to four years in annual payments. But the telecom companies will have to pay interest during the moratorium period. Vi shares rose 6.40 per cent to Rs 10.64 on BSE.
The government last week wrote to telecom operators asking them to convey by October 29 if they would be opting for the four-year moratorium. It has also given 90 days’ time to the telcos to indicate if they want to opt for converting the interest amount pertaining to the moratorium period into equity. Along with this option, the audited financial statements of the immediately preceding financial year (FY21) would have to be submitted, according to the letter sent to the telcos. Meanwhile, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s latest subscription data says Jio added the maximum subscribers in August, year followed by Bharati Airtel whereas Vodafone-Idea lost about 8.33 lakh subscribers.