The ruling comes at a time when Indian telcos are under considerable financial pressure

India’s High Court has upheld a ruling that would force the country’s mobile network operators pay 920 billion rupees ($13 billion) of outstanding dues, according to a report by Reuters.

Indian telcos typically pay around 8 per cent of their adjusted gross revenue to the Department of Telecoms to cover spectrum licencing. India’s carriers have maintained that the adjusted gross revenue should only be calculated from revenues derived from core services, whereas the Department of Telecoms argued that the figure should include all revenues.

The High Court has upheld an earlier ruling backing the Department of Telecoms and forcing India’s telcos to calculate the AGR based on all revenues.

“This decision has come at a time when the (telecoms) sector is facing severe financial stress and may further weaken the viability of the sector as a whole," Bharti Airtel said in a statement to Reuters.

India remains one of the world’s most competitive telecoms markets, with operators trading on wafer thin margins, while simultaneously stumping up enormous capital investment to prepare the ground for their 5G network rollouts over the next 12 to 18 months.

Also in the news

India hands $6bn lifeline to its ailing telcos 

Jio: TRAI risks jeopardising Digital India over IUC

India’s telecoms minister promises pricing reforms before 5G auction