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Notification on one- time 2G spectrum fee.

DESPITE resistance of telecom companies, the Department of Telecommunications ( DoT) has notified one- time spectrum fee for current players for all excess 2G airwaves both prospectively and retrospectively, which would cost private firms around ` 13,170 crore. State- run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited ( BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited will have to pay or adjust ` 10,000 crore in their accounts.

According to the order, notified on December 28, 2012, companies will have to pay for all 2G spectrum they hold beyond 4.4 MHz for the remaining period of their licences based on prices discovered according to the 2G auction held last November.

Besides, companies like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and BSNL will be charged a one- time fee retrospectively for all excess 2G spectrum they held beyond 6.2 MHz from July 2008 to December 2012.

Airtel will have to dole out, at least, ` 4,100 crore, Vodafone ` 2,900 crore, Idea Cellular ` 2,100 crore, Aircel ` 463 crore and RCom ` 280 crore.

The Cabinet on November 8, 2012, accepted recommendations made by the empowered group of ministers ( EGoM) on the one- time fee. These charges will be calculated by indexing the 2001 spectrum auction prices to the interest rates of the State Bank of India.

Based on EGoM's suggestion, it was decided that current operators should pay for holding spectrum above 6.2 MHz retrospectively from July 2008 till January 1, 2013. For spectrum above 4.4 MHz, they would have to pay for the remaining period of their licenses beginning January 1, 2013.

It was also decided that the price of the spectrum would be based on the price discovered in the 1,800 MHz spectrum auction held last November. Besides, operators holding spectrum in the more efficient 900 MHz band will have to pay twice the reserve price for the 1,800 MHz spectrum as a onetime fee.

However, the Cabinet deferred on spectrum fee for 800 MHz band for CDMA players as the government did not have any price to benchmark the airwaves after operators pulled out from the auctions for this band.

" Licensees may surrender spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz if they do not wish to pay the charge," the notification order states.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 3, 2013
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