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DoT to issue notices to five operators to recover Rs 25.78 billion

January 02, 2018

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning to issue notices to five telecom operators including Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL), Telenor India, Videocon Telecom, Quadrant Teleleventures and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) for understating their revenues. As per the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the five telecom operators had understated revenues by over Rs 148 billion, resulting in a shortfall of nearly Rs 25.78 billion to the exchequer.

According to the CAG report released in December 2017, the government was paid Rs 10.15 billion less in licence fee, Rs 5.11 billion less in spectrum usage charge (SUC), and Rs 10.52 billion less as interest applicable on delay in payment. Further, the government collection for licence fee, SUC and applicable interest charges from TTSL, Telenor, Videocon Telecom, Quadrant Televentures and RJIL was short by Rs 18.93 billion, Rs 6.03 billion, Rs 0.48 billion, Rs 0.26 billion and Rs 0.067 billion, respectively. These findings were based on the audit of TTSL and Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited from 2010-11 to 2014-15; Quadrant Televentures from 2006-07 to 2014- 15; Videocon Telecom from 2009-10 to 2014-15; Telenor India from 2009-10 to 2014-15 and RJIL from 2012-13 to 2014-15.

Further, CAG observed that these telecom operators deducted discounts offered to dealers and customers, free talktime, interest earned from investments and some asset sales from their gross revenue. However, as per the auditor, these should have been part of the adjusted gross revenue (revenue earned from telecom services) for calculation of licence fee and SUC. Moreover, as per CAG, these expenses were in the nature of marketing spends and cannot be deducted from revenue meant for calculating the government's share. The auditor also found that TTSL had written off bad debt that resulted in an understatement of its gross revenue by Rs 10.26 billion. Meanwhile, as per the CAG report, Unitech Wireless transferred its mobile business to Telenor's Indian arm Telewing Communications in 2013-14 at a profit of Rs 2.51 billion. However, this profit was not included for computing revenue share of the government.

 
 

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