Telecom stocks on Tuesday fell up to 4 per cent after an Empowered Group of Ministers recommended a one-time fee on existing operators for spectrum they hold beyond 4.4 MHz.

Idea Cellular plunged 4 per cent to Rs. 81.40, while Bharti Airtel was down 1.62 per cent. Reliance Communications lost 1.34 per cent.

Operators wishing not to pay the additional fee would be allowed to relinquish the excess spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz. The one-time fee would be imposed from the day the Cabinet takes a decision on the matter. “The move will negatively impact incumbent players that are not hit by a Supreme Court order to revoke permits in a scandal-tainted 2008 sale and are not required to bid in the auction,” Angel Broking said in a report.

The Supreme Court in February had cancelled 122 licences granted during former Telecom Minister A. Raja’s regime.

In the broader market, the Sensex was trading at 18,882.85, up 173.87 points at 1135 hrs.