India’s second biggest telco, Vodafone Idea, has confirmed that it will endeavour to pay its outstanding AGR dues in the next few days, as the beleaguered telco continues to battle against insolvency.
Vodafone Idea owes $7.4 billion (53,000 crore rupees) to the Department of Telecoms, as a result of a Supreme Court ruling that changed the way Indian telcos calculate their adjusted gross revenues (AGR). The DoT uses AGR as a metric to calculate dues owed on spectrum usage by the country’s telcos.
Vodafone Group’s CEO, Nick Read, has repeatedly called for the Indian government to allow Vodafone Idea to repay the dues over a 10 year period, or risk the joint venture not being able to continue as a “going concern”.
The Indian government has repeatedly turned down these overtures and Vodafone Idea has now confirmed that it will look to pay as much of the dues as it can in the coming days.
"The Company is currently assessing the amount that it will be able to pay to DoT towards the dues calculated based on AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue), as interpreted by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in its order dated 24 October 2019. The Company proposes to pay the amount so assessed in the next few days," a Vodafone Idea spokesman told journalists from the Economic Times of India.
The Supreme Court had imposed a deadline of the 23rd of January for the payment of outstanding AGR dues, but this date passed largely unheeded.