The EGoM, which met for over two hours on Thursday, decided to charge a one-time fee above 4.4 megahertz of spectrum held by telcos.
The one-time spectrum fee will be charged prospectively and the price will be determined through the auction process.
Making one concession to the views of the Attorney General, the EGoM decided to also impose a one-time fee for spectrum above 6.2 megahertz from 2008 till the time of auction.
The auction process commences on November 12.
The fee for the four-year period will be calculated by indexing the 2001 prices using the prime lending rates of State Bank of India. In 2001, the price of pan-India spectrum was Rs 1,651 crore (approximately $311 million at current prices) and, after indexation, the outgo for telecom companies will be nearly Rs 3,000 crore (approximately $566 million). This will help the government’s revenues from one-time fee touch Rs 30,000 crore (approximately $5.7 billion)
54 licencees across the country will be liable to pay the additional fee.
However, the crucial issue of refarming of 900 megahertz spectrum continues to hang fire. Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told NDTV after the meeting: “As the issues of one-time fee took most of the time of the EGoM, the issue of refarming could not be discussed at length during the meeting.”
The EGoM is expected to take up the refarming issue before the actual commencement of auction.
Telcos have been strongly opposed to the one-time fee and refarming of spectrum. They have threatened to take legal action and the final say in yet another policy matter may be by the court.