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DoT for levying one-time spectrum fee on operators

Source: PTI
October 05, 2012 15:22 IST
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The Department of Telecom (DoT) has recommended levying a one-time fee on existing mobile operators for spectrum they may hold in excess of 6.2 Mhz limit to garner at least Rs 22,640 crore.

In its presentation to the high-powered ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram on October 3, DoT said that irrespective of which option the Cabinet decides to impose one-time fee, the incumbent operators must be charged for spectrum above the 6.2 Mhz limit.

The Department has proposed three options before the Cabinet which include levying one-time fee on all airwaves held by existing telecom companies; imposing fee on airwaves held beyond the start-up spectrum of 4.4 MHz; or levying fee on airwaves held beyond the contracted spectrum of 6.2 MHz.

DoT in its calculations said in case it is decided to charge operators for all the spectrum, the government will garner Rs 72,792 crore while charging beyond 4.4 Mhz will ensure Rs 27,517 crore to the exchequer. In the case of the third option, which calls for charging beyond 6.2 Mhz, the government will get Rs 22,640 crore.

DoT has proposed to charge the existing operators in order to create a level-playing field among all the players.

Existing telecom operators were allocated spectrum along with pan-India licences at Rs 1,658 crore only, while new telecom operators will have to pay a minimum of Rs 14,000 crore for spectrum to operate across country.

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) is scheduled to meet on October 8, 2012 when a final decision on the issue is expected.

The payment methodology for charging for spectrum from existing operators will be similar to spectrum obtained through auction.

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