The Union government is planning to initiate a special audit of telecom companies in March 2019 for alleged understating of revenues which has reportedly caused a loss to the exchequer. To this end, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has selected seven auditors to examine the books of telecom operators from 2011 to 2018. Seven telecom operators will be the subject of this audit. This includes Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, as well as those which have exited or merged with other players. With regard to this, the DoT will soon issue an audit notice to all these companies. The notice will be served under clauses 22.5 and 22.6 of the Unified Access Service Licence.
As per industry sources, the DoT has asked the auditors to check the billing to post-paid customers, revenue from broadband subscribers, billing to the internet data centre, the sale of SIM card/recharge/e-recharge, the sale of the handset, revenue from the leasing of infrastructure, among other things. Apart from this, the DoT has also asked auditors to find out more about the configuration of tariff plans in the billing systems and discrepancies in call duration and charges.