Indian govt to audit top telcos: report

17 Jul 2009

The Indian government has called for special audits of five of the country's biggest private sector operators because of complaints that they have misreported revenues.

The Department of Telecommunications will investigate the books of Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone-Essar, Idea Cellular and Tata Teleservices.

Junior Telecom Minister Gurudas Kamat told lawmakers the DoT had received a reference against Bharti Airtel from regulator TRAI, the Asian Wall Street Journalreported. He did not elaborate on reasons for the audit of the other companies.

The DoT had decided on the special audit in May after complaints that carriers were diverting revenue from mobile services to other offerings with lower license fees, the AWSJ said.

Kamat said the government had received 47.4 billion rupees ($974.4 million) from telecom license fees in the first two quarters of 2008-09. It had netted 88.3 billion rupees in the previous fiscal year ended March 31, 2008.

According to their license conditions, Indian telcos must pay between 6% and 10% of their mobile revenue to the government, but just 2% to 6% for domestic trunk and IDD services.

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