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Corporate Dec 1, 2012

Telenor may not be able to adjust 2008 licence fee in new payment

New Delhi: Telenor may not be able to avail of the benefit of adjusting Rs 1,658 crore licence fee it paid in 2008 for permits of its Indian venture Uninor in the amount that it has to pay for the spectrum it has won in the recent radiowaves auction, sources said.

Telenor-owned Telewings, which has won spectrum in six telecom circles, is a different company from Uninor and therefore it is not eligible to get the benefit of adjusting the licence fee that the earlier JV Unitech Wireless paid for permits in 2008, sources said.

Reuters

"Telewings is a different company. It is not eligible (for refund)," an official source said. Telenor purchased majority stake in Uninor after licences were issued to its Indian partner Unitech Wireless.

The Empowered Group of Ministers decided in October to adjust the earlier payment made by companies whose licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court on February 2, and have no criminal proceedings pending against them in 2G case.

Uninor's 22 earlier licences were among the 122 cancelled by the apex court in the 2G spectrum allocation case. The adjustment has to be made in the final price that companies have to pay for spectrum they have won in auction ended on November 14.

Telenor parted ways with Unitech Wireless and bid in the auction through a new entity-Telewings Communications. It has to pay Rs 4,018.28 crore for spectrum in six circles -Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP East and UP West.

Telenor Group President and CEO Jon-Fredrik Baksaas on Thursday said that company will be opting for deferred payment mode. Under deferred payment mode Telewings is required to pay Rs 1,326.03 crore by December 1.

Sources said, however, that Videocon and Idea Cellular are eligible to adjust licence fee that they paid in 2008. "They (Videocon and Idea Cellular) are eligible for set- off," the official said. Sources confirmed that Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular have made payments. It was learnt that Bharti Airtel paid entire amount of Rs 8.67 crore for Assam circle and Vodafone paid Rs 372.22 crore upfront for 14 circles.

DoT Sources said that Idea has taken benefit to set-off initial payment, which is Rs 670.33 crore upfront. Sources at Idea confirmed that company has paid but did not disclose details of the payment made.

PTI

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