The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) on Monday filed a 962-page affidavit in the Supreme Court saying the past "Adjusted Gross Revenue" due have to be calculated on the basic of the spectrum sharing and trading agreements between the telecom service providers.
The Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had sought DoT's affidavit on Friday before further hearing on Monday to decide on what happens to the AGR dues of three telecom companies that have shut down. If it directs the telcos using spectrum of bankrupt companies to pay the past dues, badly hit will be Bharti Airtel and rival Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
The DoT affidavit provides details of the spectrum trading between Reliance Communications Limited (seller) and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, Videocon Telecommunications Limited (seller) and Bharti Airtel Limited (buyer), Aircel Limited/Dishnet Wireless Limited (seller) and Bharti Airtel Limited (buyer), TIKONA Digital Networks Ltd (seller) and Bharti Hexacom (buyer).
DoT submitted that the spectrum trading allows parties to transfer their spectrum rights and obligations to another party. In the case of spectrum sharing, the right to use spectrum as granted by the DoT remains with the respective telcos, whereas in the case of spectrum trading, the right to use gets transferred from the buyer to the seller.
Videocon has sold its spectrum in the 1800 megahertz band to Airtel, which itself owes ₹43,980 crore in AGR dues. Airtel had also bought the airwaves held by another bankrupt telco Aircel Group. While Aircel owes ₹12,289 crore in AGR dues, Videocon has a liability of ₹1,376 crore.
The court said on Friday that the spectrum trading guidelines mandate clearance of dues before the transfer of the radio airwaves to a buyer under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). If the bankrupt company that holds the spectrum does not pay the said dues, its user clears the dues, the it added.