The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has permitted telecom service providers (TSPs), including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Vodafone Idea and MTNL, to conduct 5G trials.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed telecom companies to pay Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) charges within a period of ten years. The Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah laid down the timeframe within which telecom companies are required to clear their AGR dues in line with the Court's October 2019 judgment.
The telecom industry lost around 56.11 lakh wireless subscribers in May amid the lockdown, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data reveals. The overall telecom subscriber base for wireless connections stood at over 114.39 crore in May, compared to 114.95 crore in April.
The government may impose restrictions on private telecom operators to buy equipment from Chinese firms for projects in which they acquire public assets on a lease basis.
The United States is urging telecom operators around the world to follow the Reliance Jio template of developing homegrown 5G solutions, while delivering stinging criticism against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and the consequences of "untrusted" Chinese components in 5G infrastructure.
The Supreme Court Thursday asked private telecom operators to furnish undertakings and file affidavits giving a road map for clearing the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) related dues as Vodafone Idea said that it does not have enough money to even pay salaries to its employees.
Industry body COAI on Thursday told the sector regulator that operators have provided adequate relief to low-income subscribers despite financial stress, and expectation of extending benefit to all prepaid users is not appropriate.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Sunday wrote to major Reliance Jio, Airtel, BSNL and Vodafone-Idea and urged them to make incoming and outcoming calls free for one month. This step, she said, was necessary as thousands of migrant workers are trying to reach their hometowns across the country.
Debt-ridden telecom operators are likely to opt for three-month moratorium to avoid cash crunch during the lockdown, industry body COAI said on Saturday.
In February, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had initiated contempt proceedings against Deshpande who had passed a notification stating no coercive action should be taken against the telecom companies for not sticking to the apex court's stipulated January 23 payment deadline.
The petition said that the Centre is dealing with the telecom service providers and it has found that telcos who are required to make the payments are catering to crores of consumers throughout the country.
The government has received part payment of about Rs 25,900 crore from telecom operators towards statutory dues and has again directed telcos to make full payments, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.
State-owned BSNL and MTNL have told the sector regulator Trai that tariff fixation should be applicable only on telcos with more than 15 per cent subscriber base in a service area, while those with lower or negligible user base should be exempt from the purview of minimum floor price.
The government has detached gas utility GAIL India, explorer Oil India and other PSUs from a Supreme Court order that had led to Rs 1.47 lakh crore being sought from telecom firms such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea in past dues, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio on Tuesday paid cumulative over Rs 6,000 crore to the government towards deferred spectrum dues while Tatas said it has deposited another Rs 2,000 crore for ad hoc statutory liabilities.
Tatas have made an additional payment of about Rs 2,000 crore to the telecom department on ad hoc basis towards their AGR liabilities, a source said.
The "test checks" as promised by the government on AGR-hit telecom companies' dues assessment could start this week for large telcos, according to a senior DoT official.
Telecom companies' unpaid licence fees amount to Rs 22,589 crore, while interest and penalties took the total liability to Rs 92,641 crore, sources said.
Telecom firm Vodafone Idea on Thursday paid Rs 1,000 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) towards its statutory dues. This was in addition to the part-payments Vodafone-Idea had made previously.
The Telecom Department will issue fresh notices to top companies over non-payment of AGR dues, reports said on Thursday. A separate notice is likely to be sent to Tata Teleservices for non-payment of full dues.