Article Timeline - Telecom AGR

Telecom companies (telcos) & Indian govt were debating on how telcos should be charged for using telecom spectrum. They decided on a revenue sharing model where govt would get 8% of the revenue earned by telcos. However, telcos did not pay this revenue between 2004-15 as govt insisted on including all the revenue, both telecom and non-telecom, for calculations (AGR). The developments from key SC judgement from 2019 are given below.

Oct 2019

Supreme Court asks telcos to pay ₹90k cr in AGR dues & penalties to the govt. They are also told to pay spectrum usage charges, bringing the total to ~₹1.5lakh cr.

Sources: The Hindu, Economic Times

Nov 2019

Telecom majors filed petitions to review the apex court's judgement on the AGR dues case. They seek a waiver on penalties and interest. The plea was rejected on Jan 17, 2020.

Sources: Times of India, The Quint

Jan 2020

Indian telecom firms, led by Airtel & Vodafone, have appealed to the Supreme Court, seeking more time for payment of revenue dues they owe to the govt. Reliance Jio clears all its dues (totaling ~Rs200cr) in the AGR dues case on same day.

Sources: First Post, Livemint

Feb 2020

SC asks telcos to pay overdue adjusted gross revenues before the next hearing on Mar 17. On Mar 4th, telcos paid Rs32k cr towards its AGR dues along with spectrum usage charges. They were asked to clear the dues of ~Rs1.5lakh cr in full by Mar 17.

Sources: Economic Times, Business Today

Mar 2020

India asks its Supreme Court to allow telcos to pay the AGR dues over 20 years in instalments. The govt argues the companies would fail and cause job losses without the relaxation. SC rejects it the next day.

Sources: Times of India, Nikkei

Sep 2020

India asked Airtel and Vodafone to pay 10% of their balance AGR dues by Mar 2021. The remaining is required to be paid in 10y starting from Apr 1, 2021.

Sources Business Standard, Livemint

Jul 2021

Corporate bigwigs Vodafone Group & Aditya Birla Group may give up their stakes in telco Co Vodafone Idea. This comes amid the ailing telco’s inability to raise funds.

Sources: Hindustan Times, Business Insider

May 11, 22

Govt agrees to take ~35% stake in Vodafone in exchange of the over ₹16,000cr worth of dues.

Sources Economic Times, Livemint