The government today said telecom companies would be heard before a decision is taken on telecom regulator TRAI’s recommendations on spectrum related issues, including levying a one-time charge for excess air waves.
“It will be deliberated in the ministry, thereafter due process will be taken up...It is necessary before taking any decision through Telecom Commission. If necessary, patient hearing will be given to the stakeholders,” Telecom minister A. Raja told reporters here.
TRAI, on Tuesday, had suggested that operators pay an additional one-time fee for holding spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz.
If implemented, this will be a big blow to GSM players like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular that have well over 6.2 Mhz of spectrum and will have to cough up more to retain the additional radio waves.
Bharti and Vodafone had termed the TRAI proposals as “arbitrary and shocking”, while Idea Cellular said the recommendations had “impressions of crony capitalism”.
Telecom stocks were battered following the TRAI proposals in anticipation of their balance sheets being hit by huge payout by operators.
On the ongoing 3G auctions, Mr. Raja said the bidding should be completed within a couple of days.
“(It should be completed) within a couple of days, it has to close but people are bidding. Let us see. It has to take its natural course.”
Asked about the revenue the government expected to collect, Mr. Raja said bidding is still going on and it is difficult to project revenues at this stage.