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EGoM to decide on one-time spectrum fee tomorrow

New Delhi: The Empowered Group of Ministers on Spectrum, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, is likely to decide on the issue of on one-time spectrum fee in its meeting on Monday.

The EGOM in its last meeting on 3 October could not decide on the issue of one-time spectrum for existing telecom operators as the legal opinion from the Attorney General on the matter was not received.
Government sources said the AG has submitted his view on Friday. They, however, did not disclose the content of the legal opinion.

Reuters

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.

In July, the Cabinet had referred the matter to EGoM. 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.

Existing telecom service providers will decide on participating in spectrum auction based on the decision taken by government on one-time spectrum fee.

The last date for submitting application for participating in spectrum auction is 19 October.

PTI

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