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New Delhi: Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) on Thursday said it has paid licence fee dues for the first quarter of 2021-22. The comment came amid a report that the troubled telco -- which is struggling to stay afloat -- fell 150 crore short on payment of licence fee for the June quarter. 

"VIL has paid its licence fee dues for first quarter 2021-22," a VIL spokesperson said in response to an email query by PTI. The statement did not give out further details.

VIL is in the grip of an existential crisis, and the debt-ridden telco's Q1 earnings and June quarter operational metrics announced on Saturday had left analysts disappointed. 

As per the Q1 report card released by the telco, the total gross debt (excluding lease liabilities and including interest accrued but not due) as of June 30, 2021, of VIL stood at 1,91,590 crore, comprising of deferred spectrum payment obligations of 1,06,010 crore and adjusted gross revenue (AGR) liability of 62,180 crore that are due to the government. 

VIL posted a lower consolidated loss of 7,319 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2021, against a 25,460 crore loss a year ago. The consolidated revenue from operations of Vodafone Idea declined by about 14 per cent to 9,152.3 crore during the reported quarter from 10,659.3 crore in the corresponding quarter of 2020-21. 

Billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla recently stepped down as chairman of Vodafone Idea Ltd, within two months of offering to hand over Aditya Birla Group's stake in the telco to the government in a bid to avert a crisis for the firm. Last week, Vodafone Idea filed a review petition in the Supreme Court after the apex court dismissed its plea for rectification of the alleged errors in the calculation of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) related dues. 

In its review petition, VIL has said it is "a travesty of justice" that the company is restrained from questioning the arithmetical errors/omissions which are going to cost it about 25,000 crore ( 5,932 crore of principal plus interest, penalty and interest on penalty). 

Vodafone Idea petition has said its contentions have been rejected by the order under review and added that this denial could result in the company going under and its about 27.3 crore subscribers being left "high and dry". Other fallouts include loss of investment in the business and an impact on livelihoods of employees, as well as distributor, retailers, and store staff, the company said in the petition. 

During an earnings call earlier this week, Vodafone Idea CEO Ravinder Takkar said the company is hopeful that the government will offer necessary support to address structural issues in the sector and had emphasised that floor pricing, even in an interim manner, could help. 

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