The bench ruling reads, "Applications for hearing in open court/oral hearing are rejected". Having perused the review petition and the connected papers with meticulous care, we do not find any justifiable reason to entertain the review petitions. As per estimates, Airtel owes about Rs 21,682 crore while Vodafone Idea's payout will be much bigger at Rs 28,308 crore. Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal has also asked the government to be sympathetic towards telcos.
Vodafone Idea's AGR liability is Rs 44,200 crore and Airtel has Rs 35,500 crore in dues. Tata Teleservices, which has sold its consumer mobility business to Airtel, faces dues of ₹13,823 crore.
Mukesh Ambani-led telecom operator Reliance Jio continues to widen its subscriber base as rival Vodafone Idea's subscriber number witnesses a free fall in the month of November 2019. This is bad optics for India which wants to attract foreign investment, not see it leave.
Meanwhile, Airtel has said it's disappointed and is mulling a curative petition against the verdict. "While respecting the Hon'ble Supreme Court's decision, we would like to express our disappointment as we believe the long-standing disputes raised regarding the AGR definition were bonafide and genuine".
He added that there was no proposal to waive interest and penalties on such dues. "It is stated that Bharti Group, including the Petitioner, had already made a combined payment of Rs 30,603 crore, which amounts to approx 85 per cent of the total demand raised", Bharti Airtel said in its review petition, claiming that the DoT was trying to enrich itself unjustifiably.
In terms of index contribution, Bharti Airtel emerged at the top, followed by Vodafone Idea, MTNL and GTL Infra, in that order. "Vodafone-Idea will continue to lose market share in the interim as it battles the dual challenges of financial and operational pain", said Himanshu Shah, analyst at Dolat Capital. The are supposed to pay Rs 92,000 crore in dues by January 23.
The final deadline for the telecom companies to pay Rs 1.47 lakh crore is on January 23.
"This added financial pressure on the sector will also adversely impact Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's vision of "Digital India", said Rajan S Mathews, Director General.