Cabinet approves TRAI's recommendations on 'Spectrum Management and Licensing
The Cabinet on Thursday approved the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM)'s suggestions, recommended by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)'s on 'Spectrum Management and Licensing Framework'.
Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting here, Finance minister P Chidambaram said the Cabinet has endorsed the recommendation of EGoM to levy of about 31,000 crore rupees as one-time fee on spectrum held by incumbent telecom companies to create level playing field between old and new operators.
He said: "GSM-based telecom operators have to pay for airwaves they hold beyond 4.4 Mega-Hertz (MHz) at an auction-determined price, while CDMA carriers pay for holdings beyond 2.5 MHz, for the remaining validity of their permits.
"GSM-operators holding more than 6.2 MHz of spectrum will pay a retroactive fee for the airwaves from July 2008," said Chidambaram.
The Cabinet discussed the issue regarding spectrum pricing and charging in the event of spectrum sharing and intra service area merger.
According to the Cabinet's decisions licensees will be given the option to surrender spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz (GSM) if they do not wish to pay this charge and they will also have the option of full upfront payment or pre-payment of one or more instalments.
Sharing of spectrum, without any additional one-time spectrum charge, will be permitted between TSPs that have both paid for spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz (GSM) as recommended above without any change in the terms and conditions of licence for use of spectrum including the carrier size indicated therein.
On the issue of allotment of initial spectrum to licensees who have paid the requisite fee but have not been allotted spectrum so far, the Cabinet decided that the claim of such company for allotment of 4.4 MHz of spectrum in such case would be considered after completion of the auction process, subject to availability of spectrum.
The above decisions are expected to result in further efficient utilization of the scarce natural resource of spectrum facilitating proliferation of telecom services in the country.