NEW DELHI: The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) views to allow telecom operators a 2-year moratorium on spectrum-related dues in a bid to bring respite to the heavily-strained sector.
“In view of the current financial stress faced by major telecom service providers and in pursuant of the recommendations by CoS, it is decided to defer receipts of spectrum auction installments due from telecom companies from the years 2020-21 and 2021-2022,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
The deferred amounts would be equally spread over the remaining installments to be paid by TSPs without any increase in any existing time period specified for making installment payments.
The telecom operators opting for a two-year deferred payment would have to furnish a bank guarantee.
The move to defer payments for 2020-21 and 2021-22 would give nearly Rs 42,000 crore relief to incumbents — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio.
The development has come on the backdrop of recent Q2 earnings in which three companies posted a loss of nearly Rs 1 lakh crore after making some adjustments to payable dues to the government following the top court’s verdict asking telcos to pay up in three months.