DoT challenges Tdsat decision on DTH licence fee

NEW DELHI: The Department of Telecomm wants Supreme Court to direct Sun Direct, the DTH venture promoted by the Kalanithi Maran family, to pay an annual licence fee according to the licence agreement.

The DoT has challenged the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat)‘s directive that had excluded income from non-licenced activities for the purpose of calculating licence fee.
Tdsat had said the DTH services operator is required to pay licence fee on the basis of AGR, which should mean total revenue as reflected in the audited accounts from the operation of DTH as reduced by subscription fee charges passed on to the pay channel broadcasters, sale of hardware included integrated receiver decoder required for connectivity at the consumers‘ premises and service/entertainment tax actually paid to the government if gross revenue had included them.

In its petition, DOT wants review of the manner in which the "gross revenue" is to be calculated for the purpose of the annual licence fee from DTH licensees, including the South-based Sun TV group firm.

As the matter relating to adjusted gross revenue is pending before the Apex Court, the DTH operator is required to pay licence fee according to the licence agreement and not according to Tdsat‘s decision.

The DoT said it had exclusive privilege to grant licence and was entitled to a share in revenue earned by the licensees.

A batch of petitions filed by DoT against various telecom service providers, including Cellular Operators Association of India, Bharti Cellular, Hutchinson, IDEA celluar, VSNL, Tata Teleservices and others, are pending before the Apex Court.

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