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Airtel opts for 4-year moratorium on payment of AGR, spectrum dues: Report

After Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel has also informed the government that it will opt for the four-year moratorium on payment of AGR and spectrum dues, news agency PTI reported.

Vodafone Idea had earlier said its board has opted for AGR payment moratorium from October 2021 to September 2025. It is the first telco to accept the portion under Department of Telecom’s recently launched telecom relief package.

On Monday, Airtel stock was down 0.53% to close at ₹690.80 on NSE.

Last month, Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal said the company will opt for payment moratorium, and redirect the cashflow to aggressively build networks.

The option of dues moratorium was offered by the government to telcos as part of a recently-announced relief package for the telecom sector.

However, the telecom companies will have to pay interest during the moratorium period. Also, the government will have an option to convert the due amount pertaining to the deferred payment into equity at the end of the moratorium/deferment period.

The measures, aimed at providing relief to companies such as Vodafone Idea that have to pay thousands of crores in unprovisioned past statutory dues, also include the scrapping of Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for airwaves acquired in future spectrum auctions.

Airtel told the government that it will take the four-year moratorium on AGR and spectrum dues “with the option of prepaying as per NIA (notice inviting application) norms, the PTI report stated.

In line with the reforms unveiled for the telecom sector, the government recently wrote to telcos including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio asking them to convey by October 29 if they would be opting for the four-year dues moratorium.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has also given 90 days time to the operators to indicate if they want to opt for converting the interest amount pertaining to the moratorium period into equity.

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