The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to reject the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's proposal to charge operators holding excess spectrum at a rate determined on the basis of the ongoing 3G bids, according to a report.
TRAI had on 11 May recommended that firms with spectrum beyond the floor entitlement of 6.2MHz should be made to pay for the additional spectrum at an equivalent price to the 3G licence. But DoT is of the view that the efficiency of 3G spectrum is three times more than that of the 2G spectrum, so the price has to be accordingly discounted over 3G, says a Business Standard report.
The move, if pushed through, could be a big relief to mobile service providers, who would have had to together pay more than Rs14,500 crore if Trai's recommendations were accepted.
Telecom operators, such as BSNL, MTNL, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar, hold spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz in many circles.
According to TRAI calculations, Bharti, which is on top of the list of operators holding excess frequency, may have to pay Rs3,498 crore for the additional spectrum. It is followed closely by BSNL, which has to pay Rs3,040 crore, Vodafone Essar may be charged Rs2,849 crore and MTNL Rs2,669 crore.
But, DoT plans to work out a new formula based on the efficiency of the spectrum, says the report.