FE Editorial : Rethinking telecom
What the government now needs to do is to examine whether it is feasible to have both high auction values (R14,000 crore is the base price for a 5 MHz spectrum slot in the 1800 MHz range) as well as high licence fee/spectrum charges. To take the example of telcos who have got ‘extra’ spectrum without paying any upfront licence fee, the government has already got around R9,500 crore from them since, when the telcos were given the ‘extra’ spectrum, the government hiked the annual spectrum charge, and kept hiking it as the amounts of spectrum got larger. This Rs 9,500 crore, it is estimated, will double by the time the licences expire for these telcos. If telcos are asked to pay both the high upfront fee as well as a 10-12% annual licence fee/spectrum charge, they’ll end up paying around a fourth of their revenues just for this. Add to this the costs of sales, staff
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