EGoM on telecom scheduled to meet on Tuesday

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on telecom, headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram, is scheduled to meet on Tuesday.

EGoM is expected to discuss the issue of one-time spectrum fee along with final recommendations on minimum price for airwaves that are to be auctioned following the Supreme Court's cancelling of 122 licences in the 2G spectrum allocation case, according to sources.

"EGoM meeting is scheduled for Tuesday," official sources told PTI.
The Union Cabinet on July 3 had referred matter of one- time spectrum fee to EGoM to get its view.

Under one-time spectrum fee, the Telecom Ministry has proposed to charge for spectrum held by operators other than those whose licence were not cancelled.

The apex court in February cancelled 122 telecom licences belonging to eight service providers including all permits of Uninor, Loop Telecom, Etisalat DB, Videocon, STel, 21 licences of Sistema Shyam, 9 of Idea Cellular and 3 licences of Tata Teleservices.

EGoM has been assigned with task to take decision related to spectrum auction. It has been dealing with contentious issue of spectrum pricing as it has to strike balance between revenue to the government and business sustainability in the telecom sector.

Industry has been demanding around 80 per cent reduction in the minimum price of Rs 3,622 crore recommended by sectoral regulator Trai as they felt the new rates would lead to up to 100 per cent hike in mobile telephone charges.

This base price translated to over Rs 18,000 crore for a pan-India spectrum for new companies.

In its last meeting on July 20, EGoM decided to recommend issue of minimum price of airwaves, spectrum usage charge (an annual fee) and staggered payment option to the Cabinet for final decision.

Though no official confirmation has been received, sources say that EGoM may recommend base price of airwaves in the range of Rs 14,000 to Rs 16,000 crore for 5 MHz spectrum required by new company for pan India business.

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