• For the second time in as many months, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal met chiefs of leading operators, including Sunil Bharti Mittal, Anil Ambani and Vodafone’s Marten Pieters, to discuss contentious issues such as spectrum pricing, allocation and one-time fee.
  • The issues concerning the operators include one-time fee for spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz for GSM operators and 2.5 MHz for CDMA players, besides allocation of radio waves through auction-only route.
  • Last year, the Telecom Commission, the highest decision making body of the Department of Telecom (DoT), had decided to levy a one-time charge for extra spectrum beyond contracted limit of 4.4 MHz (GSM) and 2.5 MHz (CDMA) held by the players, which put a burden of approximately Rs 17,000 crore in their bottom line.
  • Operators have been contending this decision saying there was no such clause in the licence guidelines under which a one-time charge can be imposed.
  • Sources said the Commissions suggestions on these contentious issues are likely to be moved before the Cabinet. They have also claimed that allotment of spectrum to them was as per the existing policy.
  • On spectrum allocation front, telcom companies support an auction route to determine the one-time fee for spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz.
  • The Telecom Commission had decided to charge a uniform licence fee of 8 per cent as against current rate of 6-10 per cent.
  • The telecom industry has demanding a lower licence fee of 6 per cent of adjusted gross revenues (AGR) while TRAI had recommended 8 per cent of AGR.