Top telcos oppose levy, write to PM

 Top telecom operators have opposed the Department of Telecom’s proposal to levy one-time fee on extra spectrum held by companies,  stating there is no legal basis for its unilateral imposition.

“There is no justification or legal basis for any unilateral imposition of any additional charges in the form of one-time fee for spectrum held by operators which has been legitimately paid for in the form of higher revenue-share,” they said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 19.

The letter was signed by Bharti Airtel CEO (India and South Asia) Sanjay Kapoor, Idea Cellular MD Himanshu Kapania and Vodafone India MD and CEO Marten Pieters.
The Union Cabinet recently approved imposition of about Rs 31,000 crore as one-time fee on spectrum held by telecom companies.

GSM operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea will be asked to pay for airwaves they hold beyond 4.4 MHz at an auction-determined price, while CDMA operators will have to pay for airwaves beyond 2.5 MHz. GSM operators holding more than 6.2 MHz of spectrum will have to pay a retroactive fee for the airwaves from July 2008.

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