8 Nov 2012

Cabinet approves one-time levy on existing GSM-based telecom operators

New Delhi:(Page3 News Network)-The Union Cabinet today approved a one-time levy on existing GSM-based telecom operators holding spectrum beyond 4.4 Megahertz at a price to be determined by the next week's auction. Briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting in New Delhi today, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said CDMA carriers have to pay for holdings beyond 2.5 Megahertz for the remaining validity of their permits. 
He said GSM operators holding more than 6.2 Megahertz of spectrum will pay a retroactive fee for airwaves from July 2008. The Finance Minister said no charge will be levied on operators holding spectrum up to 4.4 Megahertz. He added that licensees who do not want to pay the one-time fee will be given an option to surrender spectrum beyond 4.4 Megahertz.
Our correspondent reports, the Empowered Group of Ministers, EGoM, had recommended the levy to help a level-playing field between old and new telecom operators. The Department of Telecom had estimated that the levy would generate about 31 thousand crore rupees.
The Cabinet also cleared a 100-million Dollar aid for the third phase of Small Development Projects for Afghanistan. The projects will be implemented through local Afghan agencies and community organisations over a period of four years. Local communities of Afghanistan covering all its provinces would directly benefit from the projects.
In an another decision, the Cabinet gave its nod to change in funding arrangement for schemes under the Universal Service Obligation Fund including rolling out of a national network for broadband services in the country. The government aims to connect and provide broadband services to 2.5 lakh panchayats in the country.

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