India’s largest telecom operator, Reliance Jio, has coughed up Rs. 30,791 crores to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) towards dues on spectrum purchased before March 2021, according to a report in Business Standard. The company was supposed to settle these liabilities in annual instalments from financial year 2022-23 to FY35, the report added. The total sum concerns interest accrued on spectrum purchased between 2014-2016 as well as spectrum acquired through a right-to-use agreement with Bharti Airtel in 2021. The dues would have carried an interest of nearly 10 per cent, but Jio will now be able to save Rs. 1,200 crores on interest payments every year, the report said. The news comes at a time when telecom operators are in a precarious financial position owing to which they are not able to service their payment obligations. Reliance Jio’s decision to clear its dues as others opt for a moratorium may aid the company in raising funds for the 5G auctions. Jio’s pending dues The company still has to clear spectrum dues when it acquired spectrum in the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2300 MHz bands for a total of Rs 57,123 crore last year. The company has an outstanding Rs. 37,184 crore after shelling out Rs 19,939 crore upfront, the report revealed. “Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) had executed the first tranche of prepayment in October 2021 pertaining to spectrum acquired in auction in the year 2016,” the company said. What about Jio's competitors? Bharti Airtel paid Rs. 15,519 crores to…
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