New Delhi, January 19
Telecom major Reliance Jio on Wednesday said it had paid Rs 30,791 crore, including accrued interest, to the Department of Telecom to clear entire spectrum payments liabilities that the company acquired before March 2021 auctions.
The payments include liabilities pertaining to the spectrum acquired in 2014, 2015, 2016 auctions and the spectrum acquired in 2021, through trading of right to use with Bharti Airtel Limited, the company said.
The company had acquired 585.3 MHz spectrum through these auctions and trading.
"The company estimates that the above prepayments will result in interest cost savings of around Rs 1,200 crore annually, at the current interest rates," the statement said.
With this payment, Reliance Jio has opted out of options given by the government to telecom operators to avail four years of moratorium on all spectrum-related payments under the telecom reforms package announced in September 2021.
RJIL had executed the first tranche of prepayment on the anniversary date in October 2021, pertaining to spectrum acquired in auction in 2016.
Subsequent to the decision of Department of Telecom (DoT) in December 2021, providing the telcos the flexibility to prepay their deferred spectrum liabilities on any date, RJIL has now prepaid in January 2022, the entire deferred liabilities acquired in 2014 and 2015 auctions as well as spectrum acquired through trading.
These liabilities were due in annual instalments from financial year 2022-23 to 2034-2035 and carried an interest rate between 9.3 to 10 per cent per annum with an average residual period of more than seven years, the company said.
Bharti Airtel last month paid Rs 15,519 crore to the DoT towards prepayment of the entire deferred liabilities pertaining to spectrum acquired in auction of year 2014.
Debt-ridden Vodafone Idea (VIL), Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra (TTML) have opted for the four-year moratorium option on government dues and even opted for paying interest arising out of this option by transferring equity to the government.
VIL has proposed to transfer 35.8 per cent stake to the government, while TTSL and TTML proposed to transfer 9.5 per cent each.
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