RailTel appeals INR3bn AGR demand

7 Jan 2020

Indian telecom infrastructure provider RailTel has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court seeking to avoid demands relating to adjusted gross revenue (AGR), the Economic Times writes. The apex court’s October 2019 decision regarding the definition of AGR – on which certain licence fees are based – has left many non-telcos that nevertheless hold telecom licences with potential dues worth an estimated combined total of around INR3 trillion (USD41.7 billion). RailTel argues that the AGR ruling should only apply to access service licence holders. According to the operator, the Supreme Court had ‘inadvertently’ combined appeals from access service providers with holders of other types of concessions in its recent ruling. RailTel, which holds ISP and national long-distance (NLD) licences, states that the AGR definition is different for such licensees and as such should not be covered by the October 2019 ruling on the matter and has urged the court that it be ‘brought out from the purview of the judgement’. The company claims that the DoT has sought INR2.9 billion in licence fees relating to the AGR decision. The appeal is understood to be the first from a public sector company, although demand notices have reportedly been issued by the DoT to state-owned firms in the energy, gas, oil and railway sectors.

India, Department of Telecommunications (DoT)