Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices Friday filed review petitions in the Supreme Court challenging its earlier direction to the telecom companies to pay around Rs 92,000 crores to the Centre in the Adjusted Gross Revenue case.
The development comes close on the heels of the recent cabinet decision to provide a two-year moratorium to the companies on payment of the spectrum dues which will give immediate relief of more than Rs 42,000 crore to the telcos, two of which — Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea — have been struggling with huge losses.
On October 24, the apex court ruled against the telcos in the 4-year-old dispute on the definition of AGR which forms the basis for payment of statutory dues. The court ruled that non-telecom revenues should be included in AGR for payment of licence fee and spectrum usage charge.
Following this, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea Limited announced their plans to increase tariffs for their customers from December 1, the first such hike in tariffs in India’s cut-throat telecom market since 2012. Both players reported massive losses in the quarter ending September 2019, with combined losses standing at 74,000 crore for the telecom companies.
Airtel noted that the operating prices have been eroding the viability of the sector. The hike would apply to both prepaid and postpaid customers. Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) also highlighted that in India mobile data charges are by far the cheapest in the world, even as demand for mobile data continues to grow and given the financial stress it would also increase tariffs from December 1, 2019.