EGoM to seek Attorney General opinion

A high level ministerial panel is likely to seek legal opinion from the Attorney General on its decision to charge around Rs 27,000 crore one-time spectrum fees from existing telecom operators.

The Empowered Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram will be guided by the Attorney General on the proposed levy of one-time fee for spectrum held by existing operators beyond the 4.4 Mhz threshold.

The EGOM on Monday decided to charge existing players for the airwaves that they were allocated beyond 4.4 Mhz in case of GSM mobile service providers, and above 2.5 Mhz spectrum in case of CDMA operators. The Cabinet will take the final call on the fee.

The one-time spectrum fee of Rs 27,290 crore includes the amount that will be levied on both GSM and CDMA technology based service providers for spectrum in 1800 Mhz band, being used for 2G GSM services, and 800 Mhz band which is used for transmitting signals for CDMA phones.

If the decision is approved, public sector companies will have to shell out around Rs 10,620 crore over a period of 10 years and private companies will have to chip in Rs 16,670 crore.

"There are around 90 licences belonging to different companies that have spectrum up to 6.2 Mhz, out of which 54 licences hold spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz.

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