Four telecom operators- including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio Infocomm have paid Rs 10,791 crore to government as part of upfront payment for airwaves. These payments were a part of the nearly Rs 29,000 crore that the auction winners needed to pay by April 8. These payments will also mitigate and keep fiscal deficit at 4.1 per cent of GDP for the year ending March 31.
According to sources Airtel is believed to have paid over Rs 4,000 crore while Idea and Tata Teleservices have shelled out around a fourth of their upfront payment dues.
The government earned a total of about Rs 1.10 lakh crore in the 19-day auction, but budgeted only Rs 11,000 crore from spectrum sales for the last financial year. As per auction payment rules, telecom operators are required to pay an upfront payment of 33 per cent in case of 2100 MHz, 1800 Mhz bands and 25 per cent for 900 MHz and 800 MHz bands within 10 calendar days of the close of auction. The winners will pay the rest of the amount over a period of 12 years — 2 years moratorium and then 10 yearly installments.