On Friday, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices have separately filed their review petitions in the Supreme Court on the AGR verdict issued on 24 October, an Economic Times report said citing sources.
This development comes after the Cabinet's recent decision to approve the recommendation of the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) to allowed stressed telecom companies a 2-year moratorium on spectrum-related dues.
On 13 November, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued a notice to these companies, instructing them to pay their share of dues within 3 months, as per the Supreme Court's directions.
This came three weeks after the apex court ended a 14-year old legal dispute between the telecom companies and the department in which the apex court rejected the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) as proposed by the mobile network operators that excluded revenue from non-core telecom operations like rent, dividend and interest income.
Estimated liability of Bharti Airtel Group to DoT is Rs 62,187.73 crore, Vodafone Idea Rs 54,183.9 crore and BSNL-MTNL is Rs 10,675.18 crore.
As per the communication ministry's statement to the Parliament on Wednesday, Indian telecom operators owe the government nearly Rs 1.47 lakh crore in license fee (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC).
A day after DoT's notice, Bharti Airtel reported a significant loss of Rs 23,044 crore on 14 November for the September-ended quarter on making provisions worth Rs 28,450 crore towards AGR dues. Meanwhile, Vodafone Idea reported its biggest-ever quarterly loss of Rs 50,921 crore on the same day.
These dues spell more trouble for the telecom sector, especially Airtel and Vodafone Idea, that are ailing with mounting debt and weakening revenue on the fierce competition from Jio.