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Vi pays DoT 10% with promise of balance to follow by Sept-end

Vodafone Idea has cleared around 10% of the statutory dues it needed to pay to the Department of Telecom (DoT) for the April-June quarter, and has committed to pay the remaining amount by the end of September, sources have said.

The beleaguered telecom company – which runs a gross debt of Rs 2.1 lakh crore while still reeling under crippling losses – is understood to have had a payment liability of around Rs 700 crore towards the statutory dues, which includes licence fee and spectrum usage charges.

“Vodafone Idea paid us 10% and assured us that the remaining will be paid by September end… that will also entail interest outgo towards delayed payment. We are hopeful that the company will comply with the schedule, considering they did the same in the previous quarters,” a source told TOI.

Vodafone Idea continues to suffer from financial instability and massive obligations towards future payments despite showing improvements in certain aspects such as average revenue per user (Arpu) – a key metric to measure the profitability of mobile operators – as well as growth in the number of 4G subscribers.

The government holds a nearly 33% stake in the company in lieu of future interest payouts and has been trying to work out a revival, though the two key promoters – Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Plc of the UK – are yet to infuse equity into the company despite giving many assurances to the DoT.

“We remain hopeful that the company is working on credible plans towards a turnaround as the government does not interfere in day-to-day management of operations. Also, we are desperately waiting for the promoters to put in further equity, apart from bringing in a much-required ‘mega funding’ through debt or bank loan funding or other financial partners,” the source said.

“We remain engaged with our lenders for further debt fundraising as well as with other parties for equity or equity-linked fundraising to make required investments for network expansion, including 5G rollout,” VIL CEO Akshaya Moondra had said recently. ToI

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