The Department of Telecom (DoT) is in favour of levying a one-time fee from existing mobile operators for spectrum in case they hold in excess of 6.2 Mhz limit. If the recommendation is agreed it could mean additional revenue of `22,640 crore for the government.
If the government adheres to the DoT recommendation, call charges could go up as the operator could pass on the hike to consumers, industry experts say.
On October 3, the DoT in its presentation to a high power ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram said irrespective of which option, the Cabinet decides to impose one-time fee the incumbent operators must be charged for spectrum above the 6.2 Mhz limit.
The department has proposed three options before the Cabinet which include levying one-time fee on all airwaves held by existing telecom companies, imposing fee on airwaves held beyond the start-up spectrum of 4.4 mhz or levying fee on airwaves held beyond the contracted spectrum of 6.2 mhz.
In its calculations DoT said in case it decides to charge operators for all the spectrum, the government would be able to garner Rs 72,792 crore while charging beyond 4.4 Mhz will ensure Rs 27 517 crore to the exchequer.
In the case of the third option which calls for charging beyond 6.2 Mhz, the government will earn Rs 22,640 crore.
DoT has proposed to charge the existing operators in order to create a level-playing field among all the players.
Existing telecom operators were allocated spectrum along with pan-India licences at Rs 1, 658 crore only while new telecom operators will have to pay a minimum of Rs 14,000 crore for spectrum to operate across country.
The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) is scheduled to meet on October 8 when a final decision on the issue is expected.
The payment methodology for charging for spectrum from existing operators will be similar to spectrum obtained through auction.
(With agency inputs)