COAI refutes AUSPI allegations on Rs 20,000 crore loss due to GSM players

By Telecom Lead Team: Cellular Operators Association of
India announced that there is no merit in the recent AUSPI statement. AUSPI
warned that DoT’s plans to impose a one-time charge on a prospective
basis, on operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and BSNL for all 2G
airwaves they hold in excess of 6.2 MHz, would result in losses of Rs 20,000
crore to the India government.


COAI said in a press release that allocation of Spectrum
beyond 6.2 MHz has been on the basis of a stringent subscriber linked criteria
and is also in strict compliance with the license conditions.


DOT has on affidavit in TDSAT and on the floor of the
Parliament (both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha) consistently taken a position that
no spectrum in excess of what was permissible has ever been granted.


Even the Annexure 55 of the One Man Committee Report that
gives the details of the decision making process regarding charging of
spectrum, states that the Government took a conscious decision to charge for
spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz on revenue share basis instead of a one-time fee. On
the basis of additional revenue share, the GSM operators have already
contributed a large sum to the exchequer.


AUSPI demanded that communications ministry adhere by the
decision taken by the Telecom Commission.


In December 2011, Telecom Commission cleared TRAI’s
suggestion that telcos be charged retrospectively for their 2G holdings beyond
the 6.2 MHz limit.


TRAI suggested that incumbents be charged Rs 4,572 crore for
every MHz they held above this limit on a pan-India basis. Incumbents had
threatened to go to court over this one-time fee as its implementation would
have forced them to shell out over Rs 17,000 crore, according to a report in
Economic Times.


The Telecom Commission had ruled that incumbents pay either
the administrated price set by TRAI, or the price discovered in the 2010 sale
of 3G airwaves, whichever was higher in that particular region. This would have
increased the industry outgo to Rs 25,000 crore.


DoT had dropped plans to impose a one-time charge
retrospectively on incumbent telcos for the excess airwaves they hold and
instead planed to levy this charge on a prospective basis for the remaining
period of the licences of these companies.


AUSPI said that the department’s U-turn on the decision was
illegal and would create a non-level playing field. It went on to add that the
government was trying to ‘bail out’ incumbent operators.

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