Indian cellco Vodafone Idea has paid a further INR33.5 billion (USD452.4 million) towards its Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR)-related dues, bringing the total amount that the company has paid to-date to INR68.5 billion, the Economic Times reports. The operator noted that the figure represents the balance of the principal amount of its AGR liability. Vodafone Idea’s self-assessment calculated AGR dues of INR215.3 billion – of which the principal amount was INR68.5 billion – whilst the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had previously estimated the total figure at around INR530 billion.
In a related development, meanwhile, the government is reportedly considering setting up an empowered group of ministers (eGoM) to handle the AGR-related financial crisis in the sector according to an unnamed senior government official. The eGoM would look into potential measures to alleviate pressure on the sector, including the reduction of licence and spectrum fees. The state is also expected to request that the Supreme Court allow providers to pay their remaining AGR fees over a 20-year period and at a reduced rate of interest. ‘The Cabinet has to find a middle path to ensure the Supreme Court’s judgement is upheld and honoured, while the sector isn’t reduced to a duopoly, and the banking system doesn’t see another massive default, as it could have a domino effect on the economy,’ the official was quoted as saying.