New Delhi, Oct 8: The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on telecom, headed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Monday recommended charging a one-time fee for all telecom players who hold spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz.
Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said the EGoM “tentatively resolved” all issues concerning the proposal to levy one-time fee and a final decision based on the recommendations would be taken by the cabinet.
“We have tentatively resolved all the issues. We are now moving to the Cabinet and will try and get it to the Cabinet on Oct 16, if possible, so that the matter can be finalised,” he said.
Asked about the recommendation, a senior Department of Telecom (DoT) official said: “The payment which will be effective from the date of cabinet decision can be paid in annual instalments.”
According to sources, the total amount the existing operators will have to shell out comes to around Rs.27,000 crore.
Earlier, the Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati had suggested that a one-time fee should be levied retrospectively from July 2008 on spectrum allocated to firms beyond 6.2 MHz.
According to him, a one-time fee would ensure for a level playing field for all firms.
The DoT had suggested four options to the Cabinet on spectrum fee — no charge; levy a one-time fee on all airwaves held by existing telecom firms; impose a charge 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 the official, if the government charged firms for all spectrum, it would have earned an amount beyond Rs.72,000 crore.