DoT calls for uniform licence fee

Telecom operators will face further financial pressure as Telecom Commission, the decision-making body of the Department of Telecommunications, has recommended a uniform licence fee of 8 per cent of the adjusted gross revenues as against the existing rate of 6 to 8 per cent, depending upon the type of service and circle of operation.

“The universal licence fee will be implemented in two phases over a period of two years,” Telecom Secretary R  Chandrasekhar told newsmen here. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had also recommended a charge of 8 per cent fee. The move comes as a setback for the telecom players who have been urging the DoT to lower the licence fee.

This apart, the Telecom Commission is likely to impose a one-time charge on extra 2G spectrum that operators have been holding beyond the contractual limit of 6.2 MHz, as Chandrasekhar said levying of such charges can not be ruled out. The Trai has recommended that each Mega Hertz of additional spectrum (beyond 6.2 MHz of contractual radio waves) held by operators should have a one-time cost of Rs.4,571.87 crore.

Chandrasekhar also said the Telecom Commission has accepted the Trai recommendation on merger and acquisition that would help to consolidate the mobile sector with  around a dozen players, highest in the world. “Trai recommendations with the cases of below 35 per cent market share and spectrum not exceeding 25 per cent of the total spectrum are cleared and above that we will be requesting Trai to suggest some guidelines for considering cases where the market share may be 35 per cent,” he said.

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