Telecom operators Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio have paid the government about Rs 10,000 crore in spectrum dues slated for April 10, but Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications missed its second straight spectrum payment, the news agency PTI reported.
Debt-laden Reliance Communications (RCom) has outstanding dues of Rs 492 crore. The last date for the said payment was April 10.
In March, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) stayed the two notices issued by the DoT to RCom for cancellation of its spectrum licence over delays in payment. The appellate tribunal had said the show cause notices to RCom and letter to Axis Bank by the government were against the order passed by it on February 4, when it had granted protection against any asset sale without its permission, reported PTI.
RCom had pleaded the NCLAT to go ahead with insolvency proceedings against it as it was unable to pay dues to its lenders. The appellate tribunal bench observed that if the insolvency proceedings against RCom was allowed, then Ericsson would have to return Rs 576 crore as other creditors and lenders would be placed first in order of preference to clear their dues.
Vodafone Idea, the country's largest telecom operator, paid Rs 6,277 crore to the Department of Telecom (DoT) towards its spectrum dues, and Bharti Airtel paid about Rs 2,745.8 crore, a senior DoT official told the news agency.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio made a payment of Rs 1,109.1 crore to the DoT, while the bankrupt RCom has not yet made payment as on the due date.
Generally, the telecom operators are given a grace period of 10 days after the due date to make the payment, failing which a further decision is taken on such matters, the agency reported.
Last year, the government had increased the number of annual instalments for spectrum payment from 10 to 16 years to provide relief to the ailing sector, which is buried under the debt of around 7.8 lakh crore.
The operators have to pay next round of instalments in September-October.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar