In September last year SC had directed telcos to pay 10 per cent of their pending AGR dues upfront and pay the rest in annual instalments up to March 31, 2031.
The divergence in opinion arises from the fact that companies have already made partial payments toward the total demand raised by the DoT.
The officer said that telecom operators can clear the balance dues in 10 yearly instalments from the next financial year onward.
Reliance Jio could snap up more than half of Vodafone Idea's subscriber losses, with the balance going to Bharti, the release added.
Staggered payment of AGR dues 'a good outcome'; tariff hike must for sustainability, returns: Vodafone
Last week, VIL board approved fund-raising plans of up to Rs 25,000 crore through a combination of equity and debt instruments, to keep the company afloat.
Vodafone Idea Ltd, in a late night filing to BSE on Monday, said the meeting of the board of directors of the company is scheduled on September 4, 2020.
Vodafone Idea may no longer be staring at an immediate, and ignominious, insolvency, but there is no guarantee the ten year timeframe will save it from such a fate down the road.
'If telcos are unwilling to pay, we will direct cancellation of spectrum allocation. How else is DoT supposed to deal with such an issue?' the bench asked.
The bench said telcos could not use spectrum without paying dues.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre and DoT, said the government would support any view taken by the top court resulting in recovery of the AGR related dues.
RJIL in April 2016 entered into a pact to share a part of the spectrum held by RCom and its unit Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL).
Even if relief is granted, analysts say, the road to recovery is unlikely to be easy. Vodafone Idea especially is facing a massive tariff hike across segments.
Justice Mishra said that the court wants all parties to come forward and offer a reasonable plan for payment of the AGR dues.
The DoT sought time from the bench to respond to the affidavits filed by telecom companies, including Airtel and Vodafone on payment of AGR dues by them.
SC asked private telecom operators to furnish undertakings and file affidavits giving a road map for clearing the AGR-related dues, as Vodafone Idea said it does not have enough money.