The government has asked CDMA telecom operators to pay one-time fee, amounting to about Rs. 3,033 crore, for the spectrum they hold beyond the initial frequencies that were allocated to them.
In its order on levy of one time spectrum charges for CDMA spectrum held by the incumbent telecom service providers, Department of Telecom has said: “For CDMA spectrum holding above 2.5 Mhz in 800 Mhz band, the rate for one-time spectrum charges shall be applicable from 01-01-2013.”
As per the order, the charges will be levied on additional spectrum for the rest of the licence period and operators not willing to pay these charges will be allowed to surrender their spectrum held over 2.5 Mhz.
DoT has issued rates to be charged annually for each megahertz of frequencies, based on the reserve price that was fixed for spectrum auction held on March 11.
Official sources said that one time spectrum fee on all CDMA players cumulatively amounts to around Rs. 3,033 crore.
Telecom operators will have an option to pay these charges in equal annual instalments in a manner that the last one ends one year before their licences expire.
Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Sistema Shyam (SSTL), BSNL and MTNL hold spectrum beyond 2.5 Megahertz (Mhz) in a few telecom service areas.
SSTL which recently won 3.75 Mhz spectrum in 8 circle will not have to pay one-time spectrum fee for these area but the spectrum held by the company in Rajasthan falls under the ambit of the order.
As per the initial estimates, the sources said that one time spectrum fee on RCom and Tata Tele amounted to about Rs 1,752 and Rs 1,155 crore respectively, after the Cabinet had reduced CDMA spectrum base price for auction by 50 per cent.
No immediate comments were received by the companies.
Actual amount to be paid by other companies could not be ascertained.
The sources said BSNL and MTNL can surrender their spectrum, but a decision on it is pending.