Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio on Wednesday said it has paid Rs 30,791 crore to the telecom department in dues for spectrum acquired till March 2021. This includes accrued interest for spectrum purchased in 2014-2016 and spectrum purchased through rights. 2021 usage agreement with Bharti Airtel.
The obligations were due from fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23) to FY35 and were repaid with an interest rate of 9.3 percent to 10 percent with an average residual period of more than seven years. The firm estimates that this prepayment will result in interest savings of around Rs 1,200 crore per annum.
Airtel last month prepaid Rs 15,514 crore for spectrum liabilities related to the 2014 acquisition to save on interest costs.
Jio’s announcement came two days before the company’s board meeting to finalize its third quarter results. The board may also undertake fund raising through non-convertible debentures.
“Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) has completed the first tranche of advance payment in October 2021 in respect of the spectrum purchased in the 2016 auction,” the company said.
“Following the December 2021 decision of the Department of Telecom to give flexibility to telcos to prepay their deferred spectrum liabilities on any date, RJIL prepaid all deferred liabilities auctioned in 2014 and 2015 in January. as commercially acquired spectrum,” the company said.
The spectrum payments related to last year, when the company purchased spectrum in the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands for a total of Rs 57,123 crore, are still outstanding.
While it has made an advance payment of Rs 19,939 crore, it still has to pay the remaining Rs 37,184 crore. Under the terms of last year’s auction, the deferred payments must be paid over 18 years (a two-year moratorium plus a 16-year repayment period) at an annual interest rate of 7.3 percent.