NEW DELHI, Sept 1 (Reuters) - India's top court on Tuesday
gave telecom firms 10 years to pay back dues they owe to the
federal government after they failed to make the payment by the
Telecom providers in India pay the Department of
Telecommunications (DoT) nearly 3-5% of their adjusted gross
revenue (AGR) in usage charges for spectrum or airwaves and 8%
of AGR as licence fees, but they have been at odds on the
definition of AGR.
The decision would provide some respite to embattled
Vodafone Idea Ltd, a joint venture between Britain's
Vodafone Group Plc and India's Idea Cellular, even
though it had asked the court for 15 years to complete payments.
The Supreme Court, however, asked that telecoms firms pay
10% of the dues owed by March 31, 2021.
Vodafone Idea, seen as the most vulnerable if the court did
not allow for staggered payments, has so far paid 78.54 billion
Indian rupees ($1.08 billion), but still owes roughly 500
billion to the government.
Bharti Airtel has said it has paid its complete
dues of 180 billion rupees on the basis of self-assessment, but
still needs to pay another 259.76 billion rupees, according to
Shares in Vodafone Idea were down 14.7%, while Bharti was up
5.3% at 0623 GMT.
($1 = 72.7800 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da