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EGoM on telecom may meet in first week of Oct

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 22:10

New Delhi: The Empowered Group of Ministers on telecom, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, may meet in the first week of October to decide on one-time fee for extra spectrum held by existing operators.

"Outcome on Presidential Reference is expected in next couple of days. Considering this, the Department of Telecom has circulated a note seeking time from EGoM to meet in the first week of October," government sources said.

In July, the Cabinet had referred the issue of charging excess spectrum to EGoM. Later in the month, EGoM deferred a decision on this till the outcome of Presidential Reference.

The government has filed a Presidential Reference before the Supreme Court to seek clarity on its judgement of February 2, 2012 which cancelled 122 telecom licences belonging to eight differrent companies and termed 'First Come First Serve Policy' flawed.

According to the government, the judgement has bearing on various decisions across board and even on the spectrum allocated before and after 2008.

As per the permit issued by the Department of Telecom to mobile telephony service providers, a licence holder is eligible to get up to 6.2 Mhz of airwaves frequency for transmitting signals.

The government allocated 4.4 Mhz spectrum initially and another 1.8 Mhz spectrum to operators on certain criteria.

Some telecom players like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, and Vodafone were allocated spectrum without any upfront charges beyond the quantity mentioned in their contract, which is 6.2 Mhz.

In May 2010, the regulator Trai had recommended one-time fee for spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz held by operators.

Inter-ministerial body Telecom Commission decided to charge one-time fee for spectrum beyond 4.4 Mhz, but did not fixed the amount.


First Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 22:10
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