The Department of Telecom (DoT) has released bank guarantees of around Rs 9,200 crore of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio deposited for licence fee and spectrum usage charges, official sources aware of the development said. The move is part of a reform package announced by the government in September.
“Bank guarantee(BG) of around Rs 4,000 crore has been released for Bharti Airtel and Rs 2,500 crore for Vodafone Idea (VIL). BG of around Rs 2,700 crore of Reliance Jio was released last month,” a source told PTI. Email query sent to Bharti Airtel, VIL and Jio did not elicit any reply.
DoT slashed performance and financial bank guarantee requirements of telecom operators by 80 per cent in October. Under the amended norms, telecom operators will be required to provide a performance BG of up to Rs 44 crore for each service for the telecom licence compared to Rs 220 crore mandated under the old rule.
Similarly, telecom operators will need to provide a financial BG of maximum Rs 8.8 crore per circle now, against the previous requirement of Rs 44 crore. The rules will not be applicable in cases where BGs have been furnished due to any court order or are subject to any litigation, the licence amendment note said.
The rules will not apply to telecom operators currently going through the liquidation process. The move will unblock the cash of telecom operators that they keep with banks to furnish BGs.