New Delhi: The Department of Telecom (DoT) is likely to discuss with the Department of Financial Services (DFS) an industry proposal for a two-year moratorium on payment of spectrum auction dues. Once the DFS starts the discussion, public sector banks (PSBs) would be on board to explore such a possibility, officials said.
In 2017, the Department of Telecom extended the duration for spectrum payments to 16 years from 10 years in line with the recommendation of an inter-ministerial group (IMG). It had also lowered the interest rate on pending dues of telecom companies by two percentage points. These interest dues on delayed payment of license fee and spectrum usage charges of telecom operators were calculated by replacing the prime lending rate (PLR) with the marginal cost of fund-based lending rate (MCLR).
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been urging the government to provide financial relief through lowering of spectrum prices, license fees, and spectrum usage charges. Recently, both Telecom Minister R.S. Prasad and Secretary Anshu Prakash talked of some concessions to the sector to overcome stress.
Prakash said the government was considering a reform package for the telecom industry to help its revival including lower rates of interest on spectrum charges to be paid over a longer time. (IANS)