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Supreme Court directs DoT to file affidavit that Airtel pay lesser SUC

The Supreme Court has asked the government to file an affidavit stating that telecom operator Bharti Airtel will have to pay lesser spectrum usage charges (SUCs) in comparison with the new players who were allotted airwaves under the 2016 auction, according to ET.

A bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, while hearing the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) appeal, told additional solicitor general Vikramjit Banerjee that the DoT should file “an affidavit stating on oath” that Bharti Airtel in terms of the sectoral tribunal’s order “would be liable to pay lower/lesser SUCs in comparison with the new players who were allotted spectrum under the 2016 telecom policy/auction”.

It also asked the DoT to give a chart indicating the revenue difference between the 2010 and 2016 auctions.

The DoT had challenged the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal’s December 21, 2021 ruling that quashed a clause in its August 2016 office order related to SUCs for different spectrum bands.

Both Bharti Airtel and Bharti Hexacom had moved the tribunal against the 2016 clause alleging that the DoT had acted arbitrarily and unreasonably in excluding the spectrum in 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands acquired or allocated prior to 2015-2016 for determining the floor amount of SUC to be paid by the operators. TelecomTalk

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