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Department of Telecom (GoI) may not increase spectrum fee

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The Department of Telecom may not increase the spectrum fee beyond the prescribed INR 1,651 crore for an all-India licence as it feels mobile tariffs could go up if operators have to pay higher charges. The Government had kept the fee for an all-India license at INR 1,651 crore, which comes bundled with start-up spectrum, so that operators could roll out services faster and at affordable prices. This objective has not been accomplished as most of the rural areas are yet to get connected.

The entry fee was finalized for Unified Access Service (UAS) regime in 2003 based on the decision of the Cabinet. At this price, several licences were issued 11 months ago to various firms, including some existing GSM service providers. A section of operators has been demanding increase in spectrum fee. Any increase, either fixed or through auction of spectrum, may favour existing GSM players and thus would not stand legal scrutiny, the Department of Telecom feels.

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