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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 July 2024

Telecom revenue less than budget target

In the auction for radio waves that spanned seven days, the Centre netted Rs 150,173 crore from the sale of 51,236MHz of spectrum

R. Suryamurthy New Delhi Published 15.08.22, 01:34 AM
Representational Image

Representational Image File Photo

The government’s earnings from the telecom sector will be less than the budget target in spite of the 5G auctions fetching a whopping Rs 1.50 lakh crore. Collections are likely to be 27 per cent less than the target of Rs 52,806 crore, analysts said.

The government has decided that operators need not pay any amount upfront and the analysts said, the operators were likely to stretch the payments over a longer time. Besides, the government has done away with the spectrum usage charge, which will lead to lower collections.

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In the auction for radio waves that spanned seven days, the Centre netted Rs 150,173 crore from the sale of 51,236MHz of spectrum. It had put up for sale 72,098 MHz of airwaves in all.

The telcos have the option to pay the sum in one go or opt for a 20-year payment mechanism. Market leader Jio was the largest bidder in the 5G airwave auctions spending Rs 88,078 crore, while Airtel and Vodafone Idea bought airwaves worth Rs 43,084 crore and Rs 18,799 crore, respectively.

The Adani group company though is expected to pay its entire bid amount of Rs 212 crore. In case the operators opt to pay in 20 equal instalments, Reliance Jio will shell out Rs 7,864 crore in the first tranche, Bharti Airtel Rs 3,848 crore, Vodafone Idea Rs 1,679 crore and the new entrant Adani Data Networks Rs 18.94 crore, the notices put up on the DoT website showed.

Analysts said the decision not to charge a fixed sum from the operators, unlike in the earlier auctions, encouraged greater bidding, including for 700MHz. But the government will receive the sum in small amounts rather than enjoy a windfall.

The operators had to pay 33 per cent to 50 per cent of the sum upfront depending upon the spectrum bands. Besides dropping spectrum charges, the Centre has offered a four-year moratorium for the payment of deferred instalments on the spectrum bought in the previous auctions.

Analysts estimate that because of these measures, the government will be able to mop up only Rs 38,385 crore from the sector during the current fiscal against the budget target of Rs 52,806.36 crore.

The targets for this fiscal are actually 38 per cent less than the collections for FY22, which stood at Rs 85,640 crore. The sum exceeded the budget estimate of Rs 53,986.72 crore mainly because of the pre-payment by Airtel and Jio.

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