As per industry sources, Bharti Airtel has informed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that it will not opt for conversion of interest on deferred spectrum and adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues into equity.

This reply by the operator has come in response to the notification issued by the DoT, wherein telecom operators were given time until January 14, 2022, to decide whether they want to convert their interest due on deferred spectrum payments to equity. However, the operator is expected to pay AGR dues worth Rs 439.80 billion, of which it has paid Rs 180.04 billion.

Earlier, in October 2021, Airtel had accepted government’s four-year moratorium on spectrum and AGR dues. With four years deferral on AGR dues, the operator is expected to save cash outgo of Rs 350-400 billion which could be redirected towards network and other capital expansion programmes. Airtel’s move comes on the back of a relief package announced by the government in September 2021 which included the four-year moratorium on AGR and spectrum payments, sharply reduced bank guarantees (BGs) and the option to convert statutory dues to government equity.