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.