In order to create a level playing field between the incumbent and new operators, DoT has proposed that once the price of spectrum is discovered in the upcoming auction, the incumbent operators should be asked to pay the price for all the spectrum they currently hold.
However, it will be up to the operators to decide if they wish to pay for the remaining period of their existing licences or get new 20-year licence and pay like new operators. After change in the policy of spectrum assignment through auction, it is recommended that the discovered price be applicable to incumbents right from zero onwards and not above 4.4 Mhz as recommended by the Telecom Commission.
The price will be charged on prospective basis and not retrospectively. Sectoral regulator Trai in 2010 had proposed that the incumbent operators be charged for spectrum above 6.2 Mhz.
In 2011, the government announced that all spectrum allocations beyond 4.4 Mhz should be charged.However, now due to the changed circumstances as a result of Supreme Court order cancelling 122 licences, DoT is of the view that several incumbent operators got spectrum during 1994-2009 period by paying Rs zero to Rs 1,658 crore on pan- India basis.