Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL), which received a show-cause notice from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for non-payment of licence fee, had paid a major part of the fees in March itself.

“The company had made payments towards licence fee and spectrum usage charges for the quarter ended March 2021, last month. Payment gaps if any, will be completed within the defined timeline,” a source close to the development told BusinessLine .

However, the exact quantum of the payment made by VIL could not be immediately ascertained.

According to industry sources, telecom operators generally get an extended deadline till April 15 for the complete payment of LF snd SUC fees. “The company will use this window and make the remaining payment,” another source said.

Unified Licence Agreement

As per the Unified Licence Agreement, the licence fee has to be paid in four quarterly instalments during the financial year. For the last quarter of the fiscal, the licensee should make a minimum payment by March 25, based on the expected revenue for the quarter.

The minimum payment should be equal to the revenue share paid for the previous quarter, and the difference, if any, should be footed within 15 days of the end of the quarter (April 15).

On April 7, DoT issued a show-cause notice to VIL for non-payment of licence fee for the fourth-quarter of the previous financial year (FY21). In its notice, the licensor said that that the operator had not paid the licence fee, which was due on March 25, for seven circles (Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh (East) and Orissa), and for national long distance licences.

Show-cause notice

The licensor had asked VIL to show-cause by April 12, 2021, as to why action should not be taken against the company under relevant clauses of the licensing agreement.

For the same quarter of the previous year, VIL had paid ₹1,367 crore as licence fee and spectrum usage charges, while for the first quarter of this fiscal (April-June) it paid ₹1,200 crore. Earlier on March 18, the company had made an upfront payment of ₹574.65 crore for spectrum put out by the ministry for auction.