India court rejects plea for relief on US$14bil telecom dues

India’s Supreme Court rejected Vodafone Idea's petitions to reassess how much they owe the government as charges for airwaves usage. — REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD

India’s Supreme Court rejected petitions by telecom companies seeking a reassessment of how much they owe the government, a two-decade-long dispute that threatens the survival of cash-strapped Vodafone Idea Ltd.

A two-judge panel headed by L. Nageswara Rao on Friday dismissed the petitions by Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel Ltd. "All applications are dismissed,” Rao said without without giving reasons.

A detailed copy of the order is awaited. During the previous hearing, judges referred to a verdict last year that said no recalculation would be allowed.

The ruling comes as a setback for Vodafone and Bharti, which still need to pay more than half of their dues, and may strengthen rival Jio that escaped the arrears because it began operating much later. The joint venture between Vodafone Group Plc and Indian billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s conglomerate averted bankruptcy last year when the court allowed the firms a decade to pay the money

Vodafone’s lawyers on Monday told the court the company is making a loss and can "go under” if the rectification is not allowed. Vodafone Idea has paid about US$1.2bil (RM5.07bil) of its total dues of US$7.8bil (RM29.91bil), and Bharti US$2.5bil (RM10.56bil) of a total bill of US$5.9bil (RM24.92bil).

The court had last year allowed operators to clear dues in 10 years. They have to pay around US$14bil (RM59.14bil) in combined payments.

Vodafone Idea has been reporting losses for 11 consecutive quarters through March, when the operator’s net debt stood around US$24bil (RM101.39bil). It owes around US$3bil (RM12.67bil) to lenders and the rest to the federal government as charges for airwaves usage, the company had said in a statement. – Bloomberg

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In Tech News

UK energy firms locked in emergency talks with government
Digital currency clears a path for helicopter money, says author
FTX’s Bankman-Fried on crypto regulation, Solana meltdown, NFTs
Apple joins streaming elite, Netflix crosses milestone with Emmy wins
Honda targets annual sales of 70,000 Prologue electric vehicles in U.S. from 2024
ByteDance’s new TikTok for Chinese kids sets strict user limits
Australia deploys more shark-scanning drones to prevent attacks
Critics warn of Apple, Google ‘chokepoint’ repression
‘Devious licks’ videos of damage, thefts bedevil US schools
Baidu’s self-driving taxis are popping up all across China’s megacities

Stories You'll Enjoy