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Telecom companies owe Rs 38,000 crore to DoT

New Delhi, July 15 () : Telecom companies have to pay Rs 38,500 crore as penalties and fee to Department of Telecommunication (DoT).

All this penalty is challenged in various courts by the telecom companies. The penalties are on various charges. Companies operating in circles where they do not have a 3G license enter into romancing pact with those having the permit, for holding spectrum beyond 2.5MHz beyond their license period, retrospective payment for 6.2 MHz spectrum and for submitting certificates late as well as violating radiation norms.

CDMA companies were too asked to pay for holding more than 2.5 spectrum. Despite DoT claims, no telecom company has paid any money. Around Rs 16,000 crore is paid by telecom companies to the exchequer and a rough estimate says if Rs 38,000 crore were to be realized, then it would be one-fourth of the revenue of all companies annually.

Rs 1900 crore accounts for violation of radiation norms and 64% was not in actual violation but failure to submit certificates on time and other small issues while only 1% accounted for cases where it was real radiation.

DoT realizing that the amount was high has decided to set up a mechanism by which the issues can be solved through arbitration. The Indian telecom operators’ combined debt keeps increasing year by year.

Way back in 2008-2009, the cellular operators’ debts totalled Rs 82,000 crore and in the last fiscal the balance sheet of all telecom companies debt burden adds up to Rs 2.5 lakh crore – a staggering 200% increase.

DoT has taken Vodafone, Idea and Bharti Airtel to court for illegal sharing pact of 3G spectrum. The three cellular operators claim that during the auction, DOT had agreed that intra circle roaming pact can be formed within companies but now the authority was going back. Supreme court however asked the three operators not to accept any new 3G customers in circles where it does not have the permits.