The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has dismissed internet service provider (ISP) Netmagic Solutions’ plea for preventing the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) from seeking adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues based on the Supreme Court’s (SC) October 2019 order.

According to TDSAT, the top court ruling clearly stated that ISPs were covered under the order.

To this end, Netmagic in its petition, had urged TDSAT to restrain the department from demanding payment of additional licence fee at a rate of more than 6 per cent. In addition, the company also sought a refund of Rs 21.6 million. According to the company, ISPs should be allowed a level playing field like the public sector undertakings (PSUs). However, the DoT countered saying PSUs were not in the business of mobile services to the general public, unlike ISPs. Netmagic had also argued that it held licences as an ISP and hence no additional licence fee could be demanded from it on the basis of the SC judgement.

While dismissing the petition, the TDSAT allowed Netmagic to raise any calculation errors of the additional licence fees with the DoT.

With tribunal’s recent move, all such ISP will now need to pay the statutory dues.

According to industry estimates, over 35 ISPs owe roughly Rs 180 billion as AGR dues, including penalties and interest, to the government. However, there may be many other smaller ISPs not accounted for in the list.