Vodafone Idea, Airtel fail to get relief in AGR plea
26 July 2021
The Supreme Court has ruled that Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel will have to pay the complete AGR dues that are due to them against their wishes. Vodaphone Idea will have to pay AGR dues of Rs58,400 crore and Airtel will have to pay Rs43,980 crore.
SC also ruled out any reassessment or change in the amount of AGR dues. The telcos have clamed that they were being overcharged by an erroneous calculation of the actual dues that are muxch lower.
Bharti Airtel had self-assessed its AGR dues at Rs13,003 crore while Vodafone Idea had self-assessed its dues at Rs 21,533 crore and Tata Teleservices had self-assessed its AGR dues at Rs2,197 crore.
Vodafone Idea has paid Rs 7,854 crore and Airtel has paid Rs18,003 crore by way of AGR dues so far.
The three service providers had submitted petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the assessment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
The SC ruling that it cannot allow any reassessment or change in the amount of dues that was finalised in last year’s hearing has come as a big blow to Vodafone Idea, which was hoping to get some financial relief through a favourable order in the AGR issue.
The financial condition of Vodafone Idea is the worst among the three telcos. Airtel’s financial condition is much better than Vodafone Idea. Tata Teleservices had AGR dues of Rs16,798 as per DoT’s assessment.
Out of their total dues, Vodafone Idea has paid Rs7,854 crore, Airtel has paid Rs18,003 crore and Tata Tele has paid Rs4,197 crore. As per the SC order, the telcos have to pay AGR dues in ten instalments until 31 March 2031.
The telcos will now have to push for tariff hikes even faster to replenish their finances.
The share prices of telecom companies declined by over 1-10 per cent on Friday after the Supreme Court disapproved their applications seeking re-assessment of the adjusted gross revenue related dues. The Vodafone Idea stock was down 10 per cent and Bharti Airtel was down over one per cent, while Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) declined by five per cent.