The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on telecom headed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is expected to meet Wednesday to take a decision on the one-time spectrum fee issue, a government official said Sunday.
"A decision on a one-time spectrum fee held by existing operators will be taken by the EGoM on Oct 3," the official said.
Incumbent operators had been allocated spectrum beyond the contractual limit of 6.2 MHz without any additional charges by the government.
A petition filed by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the body of the GSM operators, was duly rejected by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in 2009. It was upheld that GSM operators do not have any vested rights to receive spectrum beyond the contractual obligation of 6.2 MHz.
Till April 2008, incumbent cellular operators were not charged anything for being allotted excess spectrum.
Since May 2008, the department of telecommunications (DoT) allotted GSM spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz on the basis of an undertaking that the allocation was subject to payment of an additional one-time charge.
However, now as per regulator's recommendation, service providers having spectrum beyond the contracted 6.2 MHz should pay charges for the remaining period of validity of their licence subject to a minimum of seven years.
Earlier, the EGoM had deferred a decision on this matter till the outcome of presidential reference.
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from Hindustan Times
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