Telco chiefs meet Sibal to discuss spectrum pricing,allocation

Telco chiefs meet Sibal to discuss spectrum pricing,allocation

For the second time in as many months, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal today met chiefs of leading operators, including Sunil Bharti Mittal, Anil Ambani and Vodafone's Marten Pieters, to discuss various contentious issues such as spectrum pricing, allocation and one-time fee.

"All the operators conveyed their views on various issues which are also a part of regulator Trai's recommendations on 'Spectrum Pricing and Framework'. The Minister will take a final call on telecom commission's suggestions soon," DoT Secretary R Chandrasekhar told reporters here.

According to sources, other issues discussed in the meeting included the National Telecom Policy-2011.

Bharti Airtel CMD Sunil Bharti Mittal and the company CEO Sanjay Kapoor, RCom Chairman Anil Ambani, Vodafone India's CEO Marten Pieters, Idea Cellular MD Himanshu Kapania were among the leaders who met Sibal.

This was the second high-level government-industry interaction in less than two months. Earlier on November 30, the industry leaders met Sibal on the same issues.

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 matters like 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.