Successful spectrum bidders, including Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone, have made over Rs 7,000 crore towards upfront payments -- a move that will help the government narrow its fiscal deficit target for the fiscal ending today.
Also, others telecom firms such as Reliance Jio and Tata Teleservices that won airwaves in the recent spectrum auction have committed to pay by evening today. Airtel has paid about Rs 5,000 crore while Idea Cellular deposited around Rs 2,000 crore as part payment for spectrum they acquired in auction last week.
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Vodafone has also paid some amount but the exact number could not be ascertained. "Bharti Airtel has paid about Rs 5,000 crore, Idea Cellular about Rs 2,000 crore. RJio has committed to pay entire upfront payment by this evening. Tata Teleservices has also committed to pay some amount," an official source told PTI.
The source added that there is no response from Aircel and Reliance Communications so far. The companies are rushing to make part payment before due date of April 8 following an appeal by Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to make payment by March 31.
"National revenue is equally important and so is the image of the country and this gesture of telecom operators will be highly appreciated," Prasad had said. The spectrum auction, which concluded on March 25, fetched bids worth Rs 1,09,874.91 crore. Government has budgeted about Rs 9,500 crore as upfront realisation from spectrum auction and expected another Rs 5,000 crore more from sale of 3G spectrum.
The auction began on March 4 and after 19 days of fierce bidding it ended on March 25. As per rules, successful bidders are required to make payment within 10 days of government declaring final results.
As per the final results, Idea Cellular made maximum commitment of Rs 30,306.98 crore followed by Airtel at Rs 29,130.20 crore, Vodafone Rs 29,959.74 crore, Reliance Jio Infocomm Rs 10,077.53 crore, Reliance Communication Rs 4,299.13 crore, Tata Teleservices Rs 7,851.33 crore and Aircel Rs 2,250 crore.
However, telecom operators have agreed to make part payment to help country lower the fiscal deficit figure pegged at 4.1 per cent of GDP for financial year ending today.
As per DoT, the upfront payment due to Idea is Rs 7,790.1 crore; Airtel Rs 7,832.58 crore; Vodafone Rs 6,867.93 crore; Reliance Jio Rs 2,519.38 crore; Tata Teleservices Rs 2,013.33 crore; RCom Rs 1,106.95 crore and Aircel at Rs 742.5 crore.