1. Spectrum trading: No relief for telcos on licence fee

Spectrum trading: No relief for telcos on licence fee

The Department of Telecom has not accepted a proposal of telecom operators for not charging licence fee and spectrum usage charge on the amount received from trading of airwaves.

By: | New Delhi | Published: September 4, 2015 9:05 PM
Ravi Shankar Prasad

The Department of Telecom has not accepted a proposal of telecom operators for not charging licence fee and spectrum usage charge on the amount received from trading of airwaves. (PTI)

The Department of Telecom has not accepted a proposal of telecom operators for not charging licence fee and spectrum usage charge on the amount received from trading of airwaves.

In draft guidelines on spectrum trading, there is a provision that the amount received from trading shall be part of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) for the purpose of licence fee and spectrum usage charge (SUC), sources said.

In a meeting undertaken by Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on proposed spectrum trading guidelines today, it was decided that status quo should be maintained, they said.

Opposing the provision, telecom industry lobbies COAI and AUSPI in a letter to Finance Minister and Telecom Minister had said that amount received from spectrum trading should be excluded from AGR for the purpose of licence fee and SUC.

The telcos had said imposing licence fee and SUC on the amount received from trading amounts to double taxation as the levies are being charged in addition to levies paid on the usage of spectrum.

The government, last month, had approved spectrum sharing norms but there was no decision on trading of radio waves, a pre-requisite for consolidation in the sector.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had reiterated its stand on most of the recommendations on spectrum-sharing and trading guidelines, while clarifying that radiowaves acquired through trading can also be shared.

The DoT in April had sought clarifications from TRAI regarding spectrum-sharing and trading guidelines.

At present, operators can get spectrum through auction route only.

Spectrum trading would allow operators to trade their un-utilised spectrum which would result in efficient use of scarce radio waves and quality services to consumers.

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