The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has sought a moratorium of 3 years for paying AGR dues, setting up of floor price for tariffs, and reducing license fee to “make the telecom sector sustainable”. The association, which counts Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio among its members, wrote a letter to Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, seeking the government’s intervention to help the distressed telecom sector, two days before their meeting with the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) on February 28. Demands made by COAI Easing payment of AGR dues The government should set-off GST credits that it owes to the telecom companies in order to help them pay AGR dues. After the GST set-off, the payment of balance amount of interest, penalty, and interest on penalty should be allowed in a staggered manner. A moratorium of 3 years should be provided towards paying outstanding AGR dues. Following the moratorium, the government should allow payment of AGR dues over 15 years, at a simple interest of 6%. The amounts payable under the Supreme Court judgement on AGR dues, could be frozen to avoid recurring claim of interest, penalty and interest on penalty. The government should offer loan equal to the AGR amount at 6% rate of interest. Reduce license fees and Spectrum Usage Charge The license fee should be “immediately” reduced to 3% from the current 8%. The Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) should be reduced by 3% for all telcos. Further, a nominal rate of SUC, between 0.5%-1% of AGR,…
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