Golden era of Indian mobile operators seems to be over especially after the 2G scam. In a latest development, Indian Government is planning to collect Rs. 27,000 crores as a onetime spectrum charge from telecom operators holding over 4.4 MHz of GSM spectrum and more than 2.5 MHz of CDMA Spectrum. Government justified its decision stating that it would have collected Rs. 72,000 crores if the fee had been levied from the year 2001 itself.
All the telecom operators holding more than the stated limit by the government will have to pay the amount during the upcoming auctions. The announcement came from Empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) which decided to levy a one-time fee on Telco’s but declined to levy these charges retrospectively.
Reports suggest that the government would have been forced to provide 1.8 MHz spectrum free of charge had the cut-off limit for the GSM spectrum been fixed at 6.2 Mhz. Sources suggest the latest decision by the government clearly showcase its intent to offer a level playing field to telecom companies.
The companies will have the option to pay the excess amounts in separate installments. Reports also suggest that government will be able to collect up to a maximum of 33 percent of the total Rs. 27,000 crore during the first year. The installment amount however would be calculated based on the number of years for which the license of the telecom operator is valid.
Sources suggest the latest figures of Rs. 27,000 crore was calculated by comparing the base price for 2G auctions which stood at Rs. 14,000 crore for 5 MHz spectrum. The actual mop-up can be more and a clearer picture would be available only during the next round of 2G auctions that is slated to happen during November 2012 to January 2013. The major players to get affected with the latest decision of one-time fee levying on the telecom operators include Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.