New Delhi: In what comes as another shock for the telecom industry, the government is set to recommend that older players like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea be charged for excess spectrum that they hold.
CNN-IBN has accessed a draft Cabinet note that is set to recommend the same. Sources say that the draft is expected to be finalised within a week and a decision on this is likely in the next two weeks.
The telecom players will be retrospectively charged for any spectrum they hold in excess of 6.2 megahertz, that is considered start-up spectrum.
The Telecom Commission has estimated that this could cost the industry nearly Rs 37,000 crore.
The Cabinet note suggests that the spectrum should be charged from the date of allocation that was about 10 years ago.
For the government, it may not seem to be a setback as out of the total spectrum of 122 MHz, 67 MHz is held by BSNL, which is a Central firm.
However, for players like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, this may come as a major setback. This may also be seen as a major setback for the telecom industry, especially after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 2G licences allotted after 2008.