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Chidambaram to head EGoM meet to decide on one-time spectrum fee

CNN-IBN
Oct 08, 2012 at 06:31am IST

New Delhi: The Empowered Group of Ministers led by Finance Minister P Chidambaram will be meeting on Monday on the Spectrum issue. It will be to taking a decision on charging telecom service providers for excess spectrum beyond contractual obligations.

The EGOM in its last meeting on October 3 could not decide on the issue of one-time spectrum for existing telecom operators as the legal opinion from the Attorney General on the matter was not received. Government sources said the AG has submitted his view on Friday. They, however, did not disclose the content of the legal opinion.

The DoT had made four proposals to the Cabinet on one-time fee, no charge; levy a one-time fee on all airwaves held by existing telecom companies; impose a fee on airwaves held beyond the start-up spectrum of 4.4 MHz; or levy a fee on airwaves held beyond the contracted spectrum of 6.2 MHz. According to a top DoT official, the department added the option of one-time auction-determined price for all spectrum held by the operators to create a level-playing field between new entrants and existing players.

EGoM to decide on one-time spectrum fee today

The last date for submitting application for participating in spectrum auction is October 19.

Existing players were allocated pan-India permits with 4.4 Mhz of airwaves frequencies at price of Rs 1,658 crore but new telecom operators will have to pay a minimum of Rs 14,000 crore for similar set of airwaves for pan-India business in auction that are scheduled to start in November. In July, the Cabinet had referred the matter to EGoM. Later in the month, EGoM had deferred a decision on the matter till the outcome of Presidential Reference. Following the Supreme Court's opinion on the Presidential Reference, the government is now free to take a decision in this regard.

Existing telecom service providers will decide on participating in spectrum auction based on the decision taken by government on one-time spectrum fee. The last date for submitting application for participating in spectrum auction is October 19.

With additional in formation from PTI

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