Tata Teleservices Limited on Monday said it had paid Rs 2,197 crore to the Department of Telecommunication to settle a part of the Rs 14,000 crore it owes the government as spectrum charges and licence fee, reported PTI. The company is part of the Tata Group.
“Tata Teleservices Ltd and Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd have made a payment of Rs 2,197 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) towards license fee and spectrum usage charges,” said the company. “TTSL and TTML have also submitted to DoT the details of calculations in support of the payment.”
Earlier in the day, Bharti Airtel said it had paid Rs 10,000 crore to the telecom department. The companies are making the payments after being pulled up by the Supreme Court on February 14 for not clearing their dues to the government. They were ordered to pay the adjusted gross revenue of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the Department of Telecommunications before the next hearing on March 17, and warned about contempt proceedings if they fail. The court issued notices to 15 companies, including Vodafone, Airtel, and Tata Teleservices.
Airtel is expected to survive this crisis. Many analysts expect Airtel to pay its dues, survive and eventually enjoy a duopoly with Reliance Jio in the sector since Vodafone Idea is struggling to make the payments. On Monday, the top court refused to accept Vodafone Idea’s proposal to pay Rs 2,500 crore on Monday and Rs 1,000 crore more by Friday. Despite the court’s rebuke, the company made the first payment, Mint quoted an unidentified official as saying.
Of the Rs 1.47 lakh crore that 15 entities owe the government, Rs 92,642 crore is unpaid licence fee and Rs 55,054 crore is outstanding spectrum usage charges. Vodafone Idea owes the government the most – Rs 53,000 crore – followed by Airtel, and Tata Teleservices.
On January 15, the top court dismissed the telecom firms’ petitions for review of its previous order allowing the Centre to collect the statutory dues by January 23. The court said it did not find any “justifiable reason” to entertain the petitions. In October, the court had asked telecom operators to pay tax on their non-core revenues over and above the spectrum usage charges and licence fees.