With the help from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) could end up saving Rs 40,000 crore. According to an FE report, the DoT is trying to get the court cases related to the one-time spectrum charges (OTSC) amounting to Rs 40,000 crore removed. The telecom department is already discussing move actively with the law ministry. The OTSC is only levied on legacy operators (Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel). As per the publication, DoT has received a favourable opinion from the law ministry regarding the matter. However, there are certain issues that need to be addressed and settled first.
November 17 is the D-Day for the OTSC Case
The OTSC case is all set for a hearing in the Supreme Court (SC) on November 17, 2021, and the final progress on the matter would be known that day only. In October, the DoT had asked for three weeks time from the SC on the OTSC case as the telecom department was considering withdrawing the case. The SC had told the DoT that its reasons for withdrawing the case must be satisfying because it involves public money.
If the case goes through and the SC decides the DoT’s reasons are not satisfying enough, the telcos will have to pay thousands of crores in OTSC. However, if the telecom department can manage to work it out with the SC, it will be a big win for the telecom sector. Especially the telcos who are gearing up for a higher level of investments for 5G rollout and 4G expansion.
On top of the relief measures already provided, this move from the DoT shows that the government is completely backing the telecom sector to do well. Without the relief measures, people might have been discussing the bankruptcy of the Vodafone Idea in a few years time. Now the telcos can use the saved cash for purchasing the 5G spectrum next year.