February 06, 2018

Review licence, spectrum fees levied on telecom firms: TRAI to DoT


On February 2, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to review the Licence Fees (LF) and Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) that are about 2 decades old; being paid by telecom operators and to resolve issues related to Gross Revenue (GR) and Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) which are being alleged in various forums. TRAI also recommended that the review be rationalized and incorporated in the new telecom policy, which is currently being prepared by the Department of Telecommunications and is scheduled to be announced in March.

TRAI, in its recommendations to the DoT on NTP-2018 said, “A number of issues related to GR and AGR are being litigated at various forum and it is essential that these be resolved at the earliest. A review of GR and AGR would assist in enhancing clarity and removing ambiguities.” Inorder to avoid the flowing taxes, TRAI said that it was important to review positions because of the layering of service providers in the value chain like the infrastructure, networks, services, and applications.

“In addition to reviewing LF and SUC structure, there is a need to review rates of such levies keeping in view the fact that access spectrum is now being assigned through auction process and telecommunication networks have become underlying infrastructure for growth of digital economy,” it added.

Moreover it said that “The authority is also of the view that the proposed policy should be titled the National Information and Communication Technology Policy-2018.” and the policy’s mission should be self sufficiency in telecom equipment manufacturing.

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