Shares of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea rallied as much as 3.26 per cent and 7 per cent each respectively after the government said it is willing to reconsider one-time spectrum charges (OTSC) of Rs 40,000 crore levied on telecom companies. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked the Supreme Court for three week time to review its decision to penalise telcos – Airtel and Vodafone Idea – for a delay in paying one-time spectrum charges.
One-time spectrum fees are charges that operators have to pay for holding radiowaves beyond a prescribed limit. Bharti Airtel has OTSC dues of Rs 8,414 crore and Vodafone Idea has pegged its OTSC accruals at Rs 4,389.8 crore, as of the end of March 2021.
The spectrum fees issue dates back to the year 2012, when the Supreme Court cancelled 122 telecom permits in wake of the 2G scam and declared airwaves as public goods to be distributed through an auction.
“The central government is desirous of reviewing and or reconsidering his decision to proceed with the present proceedings of appeal,” the centre said in an affidavit filed in the top court. The Department of Telecom told the Supreme Court that the OTSC of Rs 40,000 crore will add to the financial burden of telecom companies. Most telecom service providers have incurred huge losses and the telecom sector is under stress despite the government’s relief measures, it pointed out.,
As of 2:23 pm, Vodafone Idea stock was up 2.63 per cent at Rs 11.73 and Bharti Airtel traded 2.66 per cent higher at Rs 699.20, both the shares were outperforming the Sensex which was up 0.54 per cent.