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Indian telecom firms fall as court dismisses plea on fee owed to govt
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Shares of top Indian telecom companies Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd dropped on Friday after the country's Supreme Court rejected their appeal to correct errors in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) calculations.

Vodafone Idea's shares slid 9.7% to hit their lowest level since October and were set for their worst day in almost a year. Bharti Airtel fell 2.6%.

The companies, hoping to reduce their liabilities, had argued that the country's telecommunications department made arithmetical errors while calculating their AGR dues.

India's telecom providers have to pay the Department of Telecommunications nearly 3%-5% of their AGR in usage charges for airwaves and 8% of AGR as licence fees. They have long disputed the definition of AGR.

Companies say AGR should comprise just revenue accrued from core services, while the government says it should include all revenue, such as money from rent, land sales or sale of scrap.

Debt-laden Vodafone Idea had AGR liabilities of nearly Rs 60,960 crore ($8.19 billion) as of March 31 that were due to the government. The company has been active discussions with potential investors to raise funds.

According to a Business Standard report, Vodafone Idea has received a nod for a foreign direct investment of Rs 15,000 crore.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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