The Department of Telecom is planning to write to the Attorney General for his views on one-time spectrum fee to be levied on incumbent operators after the Law Ministry returned the cabinet note on the issue without any specific comments.

Government sources said DoT is writing to AG Goolam E Vahanvati to present his views before the Empowered Group of Ministers or Cabinet as and when required.

DoT has proposed to levy on incumbent telecom operators, the auction determined price for spectrum held by them to create a level playing field among all service providers.

The Department has presented four options in cabinet note to charge existing spectrum. They include charging all spectrum held by them, or charging beyond 4.4 Megahertz that was allocated to players with their licences, or charging beyond the contracted spectrum of 6.2 Mhz.

One option suggests no one-time charge for current spectrum.

“There were no specific comments received from the Law Ministry on cabinet note for one-time spectrum fee. AG has also earlier declined to give his view on the matter as cabinet note was circulated around the time when he was asked to give his opinion on the matter,” Government sources said.

DoT is learnt to have prepared a detailed note on one- time spectrum fee including representations made from industry players such as Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone.

EGoM has to give its views on one-time spectrum fee issue to the Cabinet. On July 20, it decided to make recommendation on minimum airwaves price for auction but its decision on one-time spectrum fee could not be known.

(This article was published on July 22, 2012)
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