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Spectrum levy awaits final call

New Delhi, Jan. 7: The Telecom Commission was unable to decide on whether to replace a differentiated fee for spectrum use with a flat charge.

At its meeting today, the commission did agree on the need to change the way the charges are levied, after protests from telecom operators.

According to officials, the commission, an inter-ministerial body, is likely to meet again this week to arrive at a final decision.

Spectrum fee currently varies according to the radiowaves with an operator — a higher amount means the operator will have to pay a higher percentage of revenues. The fee ranges from 3 per cent to 8 per cent of revenues.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had called the differential SUC “a disincentive for any merger or acquisition, spectrum sharing and trading as well as in acquiring any additional spectrum”.

The telecom regulator had proposed a flat 3 per cent of an operator’s annual revenue as fee for airwaves obtained in auctions and 5 per cent for airwaves given under the earlier rules of subscriber-linked allocation.

The government wants to raise some Rs 40,000 crore from spectrum auction, which is scheduled next month. The finance ministry is depending on the mop up from the auction in balancing its books.

 
 
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