Reliance Jio has said incumbent operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have paid less to the government that they are supposed to pay in terms of license fee for the fourth quarter ended 31 March 2017.
This short payment, Jio accuses, could be more than Rs 400 crore and is a violation of the UASL license agreement. The new 4G operator has sought strict action against the incumbent operators.
Jio in a letter dated 15 May 2017 wrote to DoT that the incumbent operators have made ‘short payment’ of their supposed license fee to the government for the Q4 of 2017.
According to the UASL license agreement, each telecom operator has to pay license fee basis their revenue in four installments for each financial year. While the installments for first three quarters are paid within 15 days of end of each quarter, the license fee for the last quarter is paid by 25 March of the same year.
The license condition also says that the license fee for the last quarter should be made basis the expected revenue of that quarter which should not be less than the license fee paid in the previous quarter.
However, in this case, Jio accused that incumbents like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have made less payments than the third quarter which is a violation of the license agreement.
“The said act of the incumbent TSPs has caused potential financial loss amounting to over Rs 400 crore to the government exchequer and in any event has caused a revenue shortfall of the said amount in FY 2016-17,” Jio wrote in that letter.
For the record, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have paid license fees of Rs 950 crore, Rs 550 crore and Rs 550 crore respectively for the lasst quarter whereas for the third quarter they had paid Rs 1099.5 crore, Rs 746.8 crore and Rs 609.4 crore, as license fees.
In total, in Q3 these operators have paid a license fee of Rs 2455.7 crore whereas in the last quarter they have paid Rs 2050 crore.
This means these three operators have paid over Rs 400 crore less than they were supposed to pay as license fees in the last quarter.
Jio also said that these operators have made this ‘short payment’, basis a letter written by COAI to the DoT seeking this type of relief in the wake of the financial health of the telecom industry and continuous revenue fall of the incumbents due to the predatory pricing by a new operator.