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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Additional spectrum usage charge applicable only on airwaves shared between telecom operators: Trai

Trai suggested there should be a suitable exit clause in the spectrum sharing guidelines between two telcos.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | August 18, 2020 2:00:43 am
SC lets telecom firms stagger AGR payments over 10 yearsThe threat of monopolisation is real and palpable as incumbent private operators, Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi), struggle to keep pace.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday recommended that the additional spectrum usage charge (SUC) of 0.5 per cent of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) should be applicable only on airwaves shared between two telecom operators and not the overall weighted average rate of SUC, which has been derived from all bands.

“The Authority clarifies that as per the existing spectrum-sharing guidelines, an increment of 0.5% on SUC rate should apply on the spectrum holding in specific band in which sharing is taking place, and not on the entire spectrum holding,” the Trai said in its recommendations on methodology of applying SUC under the weighted average method of SUC assessment in cases of spectrum sharing.

In its recommendations, the Trai also suggested that there should be a suitable exit clause in the spectrum sharing guidelines between two telcos. This, the authority said, would give the telcos suitable flexibility to manage their spectrum based on their needs and commercial demands.

Trai’s recommendations on spectrum sharing, released on Monday, come as the Supreme Court is hearing the payment of AGR by telcos in which it has now sought to know as to why Reliance Jio Infocomm should not be held liable to pay the pending dues of Reliance Communications.

RJio and RCom had entered into a spectrum-sharing deal in 2016. Though RCom had filed for insolvency and is now under the management of a resolution professional, RJio continues to use the spectrum according to the old agreement. A Bench of the Supreme Court had sought to know why RJio should not pay for the spectrum it had been using and take on the AGR liability of RCom.

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