The government has ordered a special audit of the country’s five leading private-sector mobile telecoms firms to check whether there had been any misreporting of revenue, the junior telecoms minister said on Thursday.
“Certain phone firms have been charged with misreporting their revenue,” Gurudas Kamat said in a written reply to law makers in the upper house of the Parliament.
“Hence, the Department of Telecom has decided to conduct special audit of Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd and Tata Teleservices Ltd,” he said.
Separately, the minister said state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s net profit for the year to March 2009 had dipped to 1.04 billion rupees ($21 million) as revenue fell and wage costs rose.
He did not give the comparable figure for the previous year.
Revenue for the year to March was 349.37 billion rupees, the minister said, 8 percent lower than 380.53 billion rupees in the previous year as reported on BSNL website.
The state-owned firm’s board last year approached the government for permission to sell 10 percent stake in an initial public offer and an official had said they expected to raise about $10 billion from the IPO. The offering ran into opposition from the government’s communist allies and the firm’s employees.
BSNL Chairman Kuldeep Goyal said last month the government, which no longer relies on the support of the communist parties, was again thinking about the share sale and a decision should come shortly.
In a written response to another question, Kamat said new telecom operators Etisalat DB Telecom, Unitech and S-Tel had told the government they were deploying network infrastructure.
Norway’s Telenor is taking a majority stake in Unitech telecoms business, while Bahrain Telecommunications Co is taking a 49 percent stake in S-Tel. Both the firms have said that they would start operations during October and December.
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