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Indian MNOs hit by $13.9bn blow; last ditch rescue plan for state operators

India is close to being the second largest mobile subscriber base in the world and, with its hi-tech skills and economic growth, has the potential to be one of the globe’s most vibrant 5G economies. That is, if the government and regulator stop squeezing service providers’ ability to invest and make profits, by imposing huge spectrum costs and now, following a landmark Supreme Court decision, a set of charges and penalties totalling INR920bn ($13.9bn). The court ruling is the final stage in a 15-year process related to rules on adjusted gross revenue (AGR), accounting rules which apply to activities governed by telecoms licences. The judges took the side of the government, which argued that private sector operators’ non-telecoms activities should…

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