The recent Supreme Court judgment upholding the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) as set by the government has brought finality to the issue. The inclusion of various non-telecom revenue in the AGR has long been disputed by telecom service providers (TSP). However, the final word from the apex court has settled the issue of AGR definition completely. This also means the TSPs will have to shell out a big amount to the government as spectrum charges and licence fee pending for years.
The telecom industry is going through its worst crisis ever. With the aggressive entry of Jio a few years ago, the tariffs hit rock bottom, resulting in huge losses for most incumbent players. The industry is beset with a debt burden of Rs 7 trillion. Payment of licence fee/spectrum charges by TSPs because of the judgement would exacerbate the situation. Under the circumstances, the regulator and the government must look for ways to protect the industry.
Hopefully this will bring the industry back on the path to profit.
Sanjeev Kumar Singh, Jabalpur
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