Telecos asked to pay over Rs 1,590 crore

Taking a serious note of the alleged under reporting of revenue by telecom firms, the Department of Telecom (DoT) is likely to issue show cause notices to Tatas, Vodafone, RCom, Bharti and Idea, asking them to pay their dues.

Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal is likely to hold a meeting with the representatives of these telecom companies,  before issuing notices to them in this connection, sources said.

As per the special audit report for the assessment years 2006 to 2008, the DoT found that the five telecom firms had under reported their revenue and were likely to raise a demand of over Rs 1,590 crore from them.

Assessment

For assessment years starting 2006 to 2008, the Telecom Ministry has arrived at a figure of Rs 550 crore dues on Reliance Communications, Rs 393 crore from Tata Teleservices and Tata Communication. Vodafone has to pay Rs 245 crore, Bharti Airtel Rs 292 crore and Idea Cellular Rs 113 crore, sources said.

In the wake of complaints that some of the telecom companies have under reported their revenue to avoid payment of licence fee to the government through revenue share, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in 2009 had ordered a special audit of the financial accounts of these five telecom companies for the 2006-08 period.

The move was to check operators’ scope to arbitrage, which is shifting revenue from higher licence fee to the lower side. The UASL (basic and mobile) telephony has a licence fee of 6-10 per cent where as the NLD, ILD, ISP and Internet Protocol has six per cent.
TRAI had also noticed that some of operators were showing more revenue in segment that carried lower licence fee.

The special audit was meant for companies having multiple licences - Unified Access Service Licence (UASL), National Long Distance (NLD), International Long Distance (ILD) and Internet Service Provider (ISP). All the five companies  have these licences.


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