Old telcos may be asked to pay more for liberalising spectrum
Oct 07 2013 , New Delhi
The inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission has accepted sector regulator Trai's recommendation to charge a premium based on the prime lending rate (PLR) offered by State Bank of India in case the market determined price is more than one-year old, sources added.
Country's largest bank SBI had last month raised its PLR from 14.45 per cent to 14.55 per cent per annum. This means, any existing operator wishing to liberalise spectrum in 2014 would have to pay 14.55 per cent more.
According to sources, TC said: "Trai's recommendations on SBI PLR indexation (on operators wanting to liberalise spectrum) may be accepted."
SBI PLR indexation was also used by Trai for arriving at 2G spectrum for 2012 auction base price.
The 2012 prices were about 10 times high Rs 1,658 crore that companies paid till 2008.
The recommendation for liberalising spectrum by Trai can be applied on telecom operators like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Aircel, BSNL, MTNL who hold part of spectrum allocated to them at old rate of Rs 1,658 crore for pan-India level.
New companies were asked to pay Rs 14,000 crore for a pan-India permit in November 2012 auctions.
Telecom companies also have the option to pay one-time spectrum fee on their spectrum holding but companies like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications have contested the government's decision, saying that they already hold liberalised spectrum.