The telco’s shares dipped 5.3 per cent on Friday to Rs 6.92 on the BSE.
The Supreme Court had in October upheld the government definition of AGR, which implied telcos have to pay an estimated Rs 1.4 trillion towards past licence fee dues along with interest and penalties. The order means Vodafone Idea
has to pay Rs 53,038 crore in dues.
The government realises that telecom
is a very critical sector and that the whole digital India scheme rests on this, according to Birla. “They have publicly stated that they want three players from the private sector and one player from the public sector, so I think we can expect much more stimulus from the government…,” Birla said.
Recently, the Union Cabinet had approved a two-year moratorium for spectrum payments. The offer worked out to around Rs 42,000 crore of immediate relief for the telcos, but the industry believes it’s not enough.
had reported a pre-tax loss of Rs 36,959 crore for the July to September quarter after it provided for payments related to AGR. The company took a total hit of Rs 30,774 crore (including AGR) for the quarter, resulting in a record loss of Rs 50,922 crore at the net level. The company provisioned for Rs 27,610 crore on account of licence fee and Rs 16,540 crore related to spectrum usage charges (SUC) up to September 30, 2019.
Vodafone Idea’s subscriber base slipped by another 9 million during the same quarter to 311.1 million with average revenue per user (ARPU) at Rs 107 a month compared to Rs 108 in the previous quarter. The tariff hikes introduced by all three private telecom
operators in December has come as a relief to the sector even as analysts continue to be wary about Vodafone Idea's chances of recovery.