Having completed investigation into special audit of five leading operators, including RCom, Bharti and Idea, the Telecom Ministry is likely to raise demand of over Rs 1,100 crore from them for under reporting revenues. “The Department has completed investigations into the audit report of telecom companies and the demand may be raised by this month-end,” a source in the DoT said.

Telecom Regulator TRAI in 2009 had asked the DoT to conduct a special audit of the financial accounts of five telecom companies — RCom, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Essar, Idea Cellular and Tata Teleservices — for the 2007-08 period.

According to sources, the Department is likely to demand over Rs 1,100 crore from these companies.

Asked about operator-wise financial liability, the sources declined to comment.

DoT had ordered special audit after the recommendation of telecom regulator TRAI which suspected that operators were misreporting their revenues to avoid payment of licence fee to the government through revenue share.

The move was to check operators’ scope to arbitrage which is shifting revenue from higher licence fee to the lower side. The UASL (basic and mobile) telephony has a licence fee of 6-10 per cent where as NLD, ILD, ISP and Internet Protocol has six per cent.

TRAI had noticed that some of operators were showing more revenue in segment that carried lower licence fee.

The special audit was for those companies which have multiple licences – Unified Access Service Licence (UASL), National Long Distance (NLD), International Lonag Distance (ILD) and Internet Service Provider (ISP). All the five companies mentioned above have all these licences.

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September 2021