The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) will conduct reassessments on the basis of documents submitted by telcos. These documents are being submitted by the telecom companies based on their self-basement. After re-assessing the documents the department will issue demand notices, Parliament was informed on Thursday.

In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Communications Sanjay Dhotre said that the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) have been asked to make payments towards AGR dues basis their own assessments and submit requisite documents for compliance. Dhotre said, "Following this, the Department of Telecom (DoT) will carry out reassessments on the basis of documents submitted by TSPs in accordance with the licence agreement and issue revised demand notices."

Telecom tower
[Representative Image] A tower with television antennas is picturedReuters

Notably, Dhotre was responding to a query on whether DoT is yet to finalize the amount of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) liabilities towards the service providers. The Dot was forced to carry out the practice again due to the variation detected in accounting practices, and steps it took to calculate the AGR dues.

The bone of contention: AGR dues

In October last year, the Supreme Court allowed the inclusion of non-core items in the definition of AGR, leaving Vodafone-Idea with dues of more than Rs.28,000 crore in the additional license fee. Moreover, the company is also liable to pay over Rs.11,000 crore in spectrum usage charge dues, plus interest and penalties on both heads. With a ballooning debt of Rs. 99,000 crore, it registered a loss of Rs. 5,000 crore and revenues of Rs. 11,300 crore in the first quarter of the running financial year.

Telecom India
A rickshaw puller speaks on his mobile phone in front of advertisement billboards belonging to telecom companies in Kolkata, India,Reuters

In another response to the question of whether the government is willing to provide any relief package for TSPs, Dhotre clarified, "no such proposal is under consideration by the government." He further went on to add that after the October judgment by the Apex court, the telcos have made some payments towards their AGR dues, Rs 25,901 crore in total. Ever since Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio Infocom entered the telecom market, the tariff has drastically reduced which in turn has affected the revenues of telecom companies.