Telecom cos seek uniform spectrum usage charge

Five days before the Telecom Commission is scheduled to meet on December 31 to discuss the spectrum usage charge (SUC) that telecom operators are required to pay, top telecom companies have written to the PMO seeking a flat SUC before the upcoming auction in January.

Top executives of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Telewings have also urged the government to apply a uniform SUC to all technologies, in case a flat charge is not immediately possible.

The letter has also been sent to the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), chairman of telecom commission and all members of the Empowered Group of Ministers .

"We believe policymakers should disentangle this web of opacity with clarity, speed and courage. Exercising the right choice will restore investor confidence, have a far reaching impact on other sectors of the economy and result in a vibrant auction," the letter says.

Previously, Trai had recommended a uniform SUC at 3 per cent, but this was opposed by the Department of Telecommunications committee. Operators currently pay between 1- 8 per cent of their revenue as SUC depending on the quantum of spectrum they hold.

In a related development, the Telecom Commission is scheduled to meet on December 31 to discuss the annual fee that telecom operators are required to pay on spectrum held by them.

'Govt hopeful of achieving revenue target'

NEW DELHI: The government is expected to achieve the revenue target of Rs 40,000 crore from spectrum sale this fiscal, telecom secretary MF Farooqui said on Thursday.

"Hopefully, we will achieve the Rs 40,000 crore revenue target from auction," Farooqui told reporters here after meeting economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram. PTI

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