Bharti Airtel Hopes for Balanced Approach on Adjusted Gross Income (AGR) Issue

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Airtel said the SC’s decision comes at a time when the industry faces serious financial problems.

New Delhi:

Bharti Airtel on Wednesday expressed hope that the government will take a “balanced approach” on the AGR issue in order to protect the long-term interests of the ailing telecommunications industry.

Airtel senior management, during a call to investors on Wednesday, said the company hopes the government will fairly address the issue of Adjusted Gross Income (AGR) for the viability of the industry.

“It is indeed in the best interest of all parties to formulate a constructive mechanism to ensure that large debits, including this one, can be resolved in a fair manner,” said Airtel CFO Badal Bagri , during the call to investors.

“We are also evaluating the judgment in detail and its implications,” he said, adding that the case has been the subject of litigation for a long time, there is room for reflection on aspects of the penalty. and interest.

Mr Bagri said it was difficult to say who was going to take a final call on this, but the DoT (Department of Telecommunications) will calculate the amount.

It comes a day after a group of secretaries was formed to suggest ways to ease financial stress in the telecommunications industry. Airtel said the Supreme Court ruling comes at a time when the industry faces serious financial problems.

The company released its operating highlights for the quarter ended September 2019 on Tuesday, but postponed profits due to SC’s AGR order.

“We are evaluating the judgment in detail and its overall implication and therefore ask that we cannot comment much on it,” Bagri said.

Market share is a strong performance parameter. But the underlying drivers are more important, namely reducing churn and network upgrade where spectrum redevelopment and investment, as well as shutting down 3G networks.

Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal and his brother Rajan Mittal met Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday in this regard. Bharti Airtel faces a liability of around Rs 42,000 crore after including license fees and spectrum usage fees, while Vodafone-Idea could have to pay around Rs 40,000 crore. But the latest official figures on which the demand will be raised are expected.

A committee of secretaries has been set up to work out a financial bailout that could include lower spectrum fees and to set a floor price for voice and data.

The panel, chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Guba, was tasked with examining “all aspects” of “financial stress” facing service providers and proposing measures to alleviate them.


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