Big relief for telecom sector over spectrum payment

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Big relief for telecom sector over spectrum payment
Big relief for telecom sector over spectrum payment

New Delhi : Telecom companies were scratching their heads to figure out a way on how to continue their operations in India amid heavy spectrum charges due on them. Giving a big relief to them, the government has approved the plan to defer spectrum payment - to the tune of Rs. 1.47 lakh crore - till 2022.

The approval came during a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had assured the telecom companies that the Indian government wants to ensure that no company shuts its operations in India due to financial unsustainability.

"We want no company to shut their operations. We want everyone to flourish," she had told reporters on Friday.

At the meeting, she said that the companies who would opt to defer the payment will have to submit a bank guarantee for the revised payable amount.

The deferral amounts will be equally spread over the remaining instalments without any increase in the time period specified for making the payments. Interest, as stipulated during the spectrum auction, will be charged so that the net present value (NPV) of the payable amount is protected, Ms Sitharaman said.

On Wednesday, the telecom minister had told the Parliament that the telecom operators owe Rs 1.47 lakh crores in the license fees and spectrum charges.

In September, the Supreme Court had ordered the telecom operators to clear their dues within three months.