Tata Teleservices Ltd, the sixth largest telco in India has announced that it will surrender the excess CDMA spectrum beyond 2.5MHz in 13 circles with the exception of Delhi and Mumbai, where it will retain 3.75 MHz by paying the surcharge. The move has been taken in protest against the governments decision to impose a one time fee on its airwaves beyond the mandated limit mentioned above.
In December 2012, the government imposed a market price for the companies that hold excess spectrum apart from their contractual limit. For CDMA service providers, the pan-India price for CDMA spectrum is Rs 9,000 crore. Going by rule, the Centre had asked Tata Tele to pay Rs 1152.7 crore towards this one-time levy. In the GSM space, the company does not have to pay this fee as it only has start-up airwaves in all regions.
However, it remains a surprise to many on why Tata Tele decided to surrender its CDMA airwaves as the company had obtained a stay from the Kolkata High Court against the one time fee.
In a letter dated April 9, 2013 to the department of telecommunications, TTsL company had demanded 120 days to surrender the additional spectrum to make sure that the its services are not affected.
The decision of Tata Teleservices might affect all the telcos as they may now be forced to pay the surcharge or surrender the additional airwaves they they hold.