Vodafone Idea, Airtel hike prices; seek more time for payment of dues to govt

Telecom operators Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel on Monday said that they have decided to increase call and data charges from December to stay afloat, after the two telecom majors reported massive losses in the second quarter of the current fiscal.

The two telecom operators have also asked the government to ease the burden arising from the Supreme Court decision that increased the burden of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) – the share of revenue the telcos owe to the government.
The telecom operators are already under deep financial stress, and the pressure to pay up government dues further increases their troubles. 
The telcos, through their association, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) which comprises of telecom companies like Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio – have asked for a three-year moratorium for payment of dues besides a reduction in the liabilities and easier payment terms, say reports.
COAI has suggested that the government provide a three-year moratorium along with an extended payment deadline with easier interest rates to ease the pressure on the telecom companies, as per a PTI report.
The Director-General of COAI, Rajan Matthews, has added that the telecom operators need “oxygen” and there should be debt restructuring of all the dues that the telecom operators are required to pay to the government.
Shares of Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel surged sharply, following the news. Bharti Airtel rose as much as 5.2 per cent to Rs430.80 per share on the BSE, while Vodafone Idea surged 10 per cent to Rs4.9 per share.