Telecom Commission may meet today to finalize tower company licensing

Telecom Commission (TC) is likely to meet on Tuesday to finalize its earlier plan to bring telecom tower companies under the Unified Licensing (UL) regime.

Under the UL regime, telecom tower companies controlled by major mobile operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications will be forced to pay 8 percent of their revenues as licence fee.

This measure will assist the Department of Telecom (DoT) to generate around over Rs 2,000 crore annually, Times of India reported.

The Telecom Commission will also discuss the next round of spectrum auctions slated for January 2014.

Telecom companies, which made revenues of around Rs 23,500 crore in 2010-11, work on a Rs 5,000 registration certificate and do not attract any licence fee.

This has provoked DoT to take a relook at the entire tower licensing regime.

LTE Tower

Telecom service providers pay a licence fee between 3-8 percent to DoT on their adjusted gross revenues (AGR).

Earlier, telecom regulator TRAI had already sought the same in its recommendations to DoT in May 2010 and the matter had also been discussed by the inter-ministerial telecom commission earlier.

The proposed move has, however, been opposed by the tower players and their body, Tower And Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA).

The main companies that will be affected include Bharti Airtel, Indus Towers, Reliance Infratel, VIOM Networks, American Tower Company, etc.

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