India's Reliance Communications Ltd said on Monday that the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has exempted a one-time spectrum charge (OTSC) on the debt-laden telecom company's spectrum holdings in CDMA and GSM bands.

TDSAT also directed the Department of Telecommunications(DoT) to return a 20 billion rupees ($278.55 million) bank guarantee made by the company, RCom said.

TDSAT held that any telecom operator's spectrum holdings of up to 5 MHz in the CDMA band and upto 6.2 MHz in the GSM band were exempt from any OTSC levies, the company said.

RCom had challenged DoT's decision to impose one-time spectrum charge on its contracted CDMA and GSM spectrum resources.

The breather for the company struggling with neck deep debt comes after it said on Friday it will approach the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to resolve its debt woes as lack of regulatory approval for asset sales and pending cases at the Supreme Court and TDSAT were hampering efforts.

Shares of RCom plunged by more than half to a record low on Monday.

Competition in India's telecoms industry has stepped up several levels since the 2016 entry of cut-price player Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, leading to RCom shutting down its wireless communications business. Reliance Jio is owned by Mukesh Ambani, the elder brother of RCom owner Anil Ambani.

*Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.

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