RCom calls DoT's approach on one-time spectrum charge discriminatory

Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance Communications.

Reliance Communications has alleged DoT of adopting discriminatory approach by demanding bank guarantee from the company for one-time spectrum charges, while approving Vodafone-Idea merger without making a similar demand, sources said on Thursday.

In a letter dated July 10, 2018 to telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan, debt-ridden telecom firm Rcom referred to conditional approval given to Idea Cellular and Vodafone India to go ahead with their merger deal without insisting on any bank guarantee (BG) against pending one-time spectrum charges (OTSC) of Vodafone, the added.

"We request DoT not to adopt any such discriminatory, inconsistent and unfair stand against RCom as compared to a completely opposite and favourable stand for Vodafone, and to instead release the bank guarantees of Rs 20 billion immediately," RCom said.

The telecom department has demanded payment of Rs 39.76 billion for one time spectrum charge from Vodafone India, and a joint bank guarantee of Rs 33.42 billion before it grants final approval for the merger.

RCom said that DoT has insisted on BGs against the disputed OTSC from the company at the time it approached the government for liberalising spectrum in 800 Mhz band in December 2015.

It said the DoT demanded BG despite the matter being sub-judice.

"Not only that, the DoT has unilaterally increased the original OTSC demand, without any hearing or process, based on subsequent auction prices," RCom alleged.

The Anil Ambani led firm has alleged that OTSC dues of Vodafone are to the tune of Rs 90 billion, which is around 4 times of RCom.

Telecom tribunal TDSAT on July 3 directed DoT to return BG of Rs 20 billion to RCom.

In the letter RCom asked DoT to release its BG as per direction of TDSAT without filing any petition on this matter before the Supreme Court.

Email sent to RCom, Vodafone and DoT elicited no immediate reply on the issue.


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel