NEW DELHI: Mobile operators Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have paid about Rs 94 crore (combined) to the Department of Telecom towards spectrum dues in September, an official source said.
Vodafone Idea has made a payment of Rs 54.52 crore, while the amount paid by Reliance Jio stood at about Rs 39.1 crore, the source added. The payments, which are towards deferred spectrum dues from the telecom companies, came on time.
Email sent to Reliance Jio was unanswered, while Vodafone Idea spokesperson said that the company does not comment on matters that are business as usual. The government, in March last year, enhanced the number of annual instalments for spectrum payment from 10 to 16 years to provide relief to the debt-laden telecom sector.
But with the sector reeling under acute financial stress, Vodafone Group Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee and CEO Nick Read recently met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, as the company sought a two-year moratorium on deferred spectrum payments, and other relief measures from the government.
The British telecom giant asserted that it is focused on the successful integration of business between Vodafone and Idea. The telecom sector has been battered by falling tariffs, eroding profitability and mounting debt in the face of stiff competition triggered by disruptive offerings of Reliance Jio, owned by Mukesh Ambani.
The industry has been seeking urgent relief measures for the sector, including cut in levies like licence fee and spectrum charges, and release of GST input tax credit locked up with the government.