EGoM on spectrum to meet on Oct 3

NEW DELHI, Sept 30:

The Empowered Group of Ministers on Telecom, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, is scheduled to meet on October 3 to decide on the issue of one-time fee on spectrum held by existing telecom operators.

“Yes, it is (EGoM meet) on October 3,” confirmed a senior government official when asked about the schedule for the meeting.

In July, the Cabinet had referred the matter to EGoM for obtaining its view. Later in the month, EGoM had deferred a decision on the matter till the outcome of Presidential Reference.

Following the Supreme Court’s opinion on the Presidential Reference, the government is now free to take a decision in this regard.

The DoT had made four proposals to the Cabinet on one-time fee—no charge; levy a one-time fee on all airwaves held by existing telecom companies; impose a fee on airwaves held beyond the start-up spectrum of 4.4 MHz; or levy a fee on airwaves held beyond the contracted spectrum of 6.2 MHz.

According to a top DoT official, the department added the option of one-time auction-determined price for all spectrum held by the operators to create a level-playing field between new entrants and and existing players.

Existing players were allocated pan-India permits with 4.4 Mhz of airwaves frequencies at price of Rs 1,658 crore but new telecom operators will have to pay a minimum of Rs 14,000 crore for similar set of airwaves for pan-India business in auction that are scheduled to start in November.

According to sources, the EGoM has also been given the task of considering matters relating to e-auction of FM Radio broadcasting services in the light of recommendations made by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. (PTI)



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