The company, which has so far paid Rs 3,500 crore, has made it clear that its survival now hinges on a government support, which should come in various forms, including a staggered payment option, reduction in licence fee and spectrum charges that telecom companies need to pay.
“At this point of time, we do not have the financial strength to pay the balance, self-assessed principal, interest, penalty and interest on penalty. In the present financial situation, we would be in a position to do so only if the DoT and the government can kindly take up the steps we are requesting,” Vodafone Idea’s chief regulatory and corporate affairs officer P Balaji said in a letter to the telecom secretary and PMO, which was also marked to the FM and Cabinet secretary, among others.
Sources told TOI, Vodafone has claimed that its operations, which has over 30 crore subscribers in India, have been crippled due to “prolonged predatory pricing, and the recent AGR judgement”. “Resultantly, Vodafone Idea itself has been continually facing losses for the last several quarters.”
The company also said that after mutual discussions, the amount payable under the SC judgment may be frozen to avoid recurring claim of interest, penalty and interest on penalty.
The company also requested that the government reduce the licence fee on telecom players from 8% to 3%. Also, it said that the spectrum usage charge, which was fixed at 3% in 2016, be brought down to “zero or a uniform rate of 1%” for all spectrum. Vodafone Idea also said the government should fix a floor price for data tariffs, which will help boost the revenues of telecom companies and reduce stress.