Emphasising that the present method of calculating licence fee (LF) and spectrum usage charge (SUC) is around 20 years old, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Friday suggested a review and rationalisation of both the levies in the new telecom policy, which is currently being prepared by the department of telecommunications and is slated to be announced in March.
Stating that in the last two decades, both technology and market have changed from being voice-centric to data-centric with telecom operators now offering bundled services, the regulator recommended that the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2018 should review gross revenue (GR) and adjusted gross revenue (AGR).
“A number of issues related to GR and AGR are being litigated at various forum and it is essential that these be resolved at the earliest. A review of GR and AGR would assist in enhancing clarity and removing ambiguities,” the regulator said in its recommendations to the DoT on NTP-2018. DoT had asked Trai for its suggestions on the new policy.
Trai said that due to layering of service providers in the value chain — infrastructure, networks, services, and applications, it is essential to review the positions to avoid cascading of levies.
“In addition to reviewing LF and SUC structure, there is a need to review rates of such levies keeping in view the fact that access spectrum is now being assigned through auction process and telecommunication networks have become underlying infrastructure for growth of digital economy,” it added.
Trai said the policy’s mission should be self sufficiency in telecom equipment manufacturing, while its objective should be “to leapfrog India amongst top-50 nations in international rankings in terms of network readiness, communications systems and services and to attract an investment equivalent to $100 billion in communication sector”.
(With FE inputs)