The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Reliance pays single phone licence bill

New Delhi, Nov 12: Reliance Infocomm today paid Rs 1,542 crore to the government for converting its basic telecom service licence into the new unified licence. With this single licence, the company will be able to offer full mobility services all over the country except in Bengal and the Andaman Nicobar Islands.

In Bengal, the company has both basic and cellular licences. The company has to pay Rs 79.51 crore for migration in this circle.

However, guidelines for the Unified Access Services Licence (UASL) stipulate that in a telecom circle where the basic operator has already paid more than what the fourth cellular player would have paid, it need not pay any more by way of fees. It also stipulates that a cellular licensee need not pay any fee for migration.

“We will make the necessary application for migration within this week in the two other circles too. The company has basic licences for West Bengal. Calcutta falls under that basic licence. We also have a separate cellular licence for Bengal and for Calcutta we hold a fourth cellular bid. The company now has to decide which licence should be presented to the government to migrate to UASL,” said a senior Reliance Infocomm official.

An application has been submitted to DoT to move to UASL regime. “We have paid Rs 1,542.5 crore to the government for migration in 16 circles of which Rs 1,042 crore is the entry fee and the balance is penalty.”

Reliance was offering services like call forwarding and multiple registration and temporary registration to provide roaming facility to users which is not allowed under the terms of the licence it was holding. Under UASL, the company can offer customers full mobility all over the country — legally.

Meanwhile, the department of telecommunications today imposed an extra Rs 41 crore penalty on Reliance Infocomm for offering roaming like services on its WiLL phones as against Rs 485 crore recommended by Trai. The company will have to pay Rs 526 crore as penalty.

DoT officials said, “We have calculated the amount based on the statistics available with us. According to our calculations, if the company decides to migrate to the UASL regime, it will have to pay a penalty of Rs 526 crore. This will be in addition to the Rs 1096 crore entry fee for migration to UASL.”

Officials in DoT pointed out that the difference in amount is due to the different prime lending rate (PLR) calculated by Trai and DoT while calculating the accumulated penal interest.

Officials in Trai confirmed that they had taken into account the PLR based on the year of the company signing its licence.

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