One-time spectrum fee on telecom operators cleared by Cabinet

One-time spectrum fee on telecom operators cleared by Cabinet
The Cabinet on Thursday approved levy of one-time spectrum charge on all existing telecom operators.

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accepted recommendation of an the Empowered Group of Ministers that all existing mobile phone companies must pay one-time spectrum charge, sources said.

The EGoM had proposed that GSM-based telecom companies pay for all their 2G spectrum holding beyond 4.4 MHz, while CDMA players were to pay the levy beyond 2.5 MHz holding prospectively for the remaining period of their licences.

This charge, EGoM had proposed, was to be linked to the price at which spectrum is sold in the upcoming auctions scheduled to begin on November 12.

Sources said that while the Cabinet approved the levy of spectrum discovered price for the GSM operators, for CDMA players Department of Telecom will come out with a benchmark later.

This is because no company is in fray to buy CDMA spectrum and so a rate of this band of spectrum cannot be discovered in the auction.

The DoT had previously estimated that the levy will fetch the government Rs. 30,927 crore. But with the exact quantum of levy on CDMA operators not yet clear, the government's net take could not be immediately ascertained.


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