The empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on spectrum headed by finance minister P Chidambaram has given a go-ahead to the proposal of sharing airwaves for telecom operators after they pay the one-time spectrum charge prospectively for all airwaves beyond the 4.4 MHz mark.
The EGoM in its meeting held on October 18 also took a decision that no additional charge need to be levied in the event of merger and acquisition. The telecom panel felt that mergers, in accordance with stipulated guidelines, lead to consolidation of spectrum and increased efficiency.
In another significant development the ministerial panel has accepted the demand of state owned telcos BSNL and MTNL for financial support to pay one-time fee for additional spectrum.
Both the PSUs had written to the department of telecommunications (DoT), for the financial assistance amounting to Rs 11,000 crore.
They said that they require assistance to serve their customers as they don’t have money to pay for one-time fee.
The telecom panel had on October 8 recommended to the Cabinet that telcos be charged a one-time fee for their 2G spectrum beyond the 4.4-MHz mark in all regions prospectively for the remaining period of their licences. The move will get the government a minimum of Rs 27,000 crore if its recommendations are accepted by the Union Cabinet.
DoT which endorses the PSU’s demand for financial support has said that it would seek the approval from EGoM and the cabinet keeping in view the financial difficulties being faced by them.