Don’t treat us like an access service provider: RailTel to SC; files petition seeking exclusion

Mamuni Das/S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2020 Published on January 08, 2020

File photo   -  THE HINDU

The apex court had in Oct upheld the DoT’s view that telecom operators must pay higher amount as revenue share

RailTel, the Indian Railways’ public sector unit, has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking exclusion from the decision that requires telecom service providers to pay a higher amount as revenue share.

RailTel maintained in the petition that the company is limited to providing Internet service and national long distance services, and it is not a telecom access service provider (like Bharti Airtel, or Vodafone Idea).

“We have filed a modification/clarification request in the Supreme Court regarding the order dated October 24, 2019, on AGR as the order is only for access service provider and not for those holding Internet service and national long-distance licences,” according to a RailTel petition.

Apex court order

The move follows the Supreme Court’s October decision which upheld the Department of Telecommunication’s view that telecom operators have to pay a part of their adjusted gross revenue, where the gross revenue should have included more activities than those which the telcos took into account.

The revenue should have included licensed as well as non-licensed activities, according to the Supreme Court decision. The apex court decided that while calculating revenue share, revenue would take into account receipts from all activities except termination fee and roaming charges.

RailTel pays eight per cent of revenue generated from licenced activities as licence fee to Department of Telecom every year, the petition said. “DoT has raised demand of approximately ₹290 crore through various notices as adjusted gross revenue dues. However, we have requested for modification/ clarification of Supreme Court order,” the petition said.

Now, DoT will also await for the Supreme Court’s decision, said sources.

If the decision remains unaltered, it could have an impact on the IPO plans of RailTel, that is in the works.

Following the Apex Court’s decision, DoT had asked all telecom operators, including Internet service providers, to estimate the adjusted gross revenue as per the decision of the Supreme Court and pay the amount accordingly. As per DoT, those who are required to pay extra include several public sector units such as GAIL, Power Grid Corporation, Oil India, Delhi Metro and RailTel.

Published on January 08, 2020
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