Airtel and Vodafone Idea face Rs 12,623 crore challenge

The department of telecommunications (DoT) has charged the operators Rs 22,000 crore for holding excess spectrum — beyond 4.4 Mhz —which is referred to as one-time spectrum charge (OTSC).
Communication towersBharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea owe around Rs 12,623 crore, Financial Express reported on Monday.

Indian telecom operators already owe Rs 1.33 lakh crore due to more than a decade old dispute relating to calculation of adjusted gross revenue (AGR). Both Airtel and Vodafone Idea approached the India government to settle the issue.

The operators have obtained stay orders from various high courts or the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). Still, every time there’s a merger, acquisition or trading of spectrum by any company the DoT raises the demand on the concerned operators as a result of which the matter again comes up in courts or TDSAT.

Appeal by the DoT in some cases is pending in the Supreme Court and in some in the planning stage.

The decision to levy OTSC was taken by the United Progressive Alliance government in the wake of the 122 2G licences given by the then telecom minister A Raja in January, 2008. The licences were cancelled in February 2012 by the Supreme Court.