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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 17, 2012
The Telecom Commission, the highest policy making body in the sector, on Wednesday decided to take back the spectrum in 900 Mhz band from the operators at the time of their licence renewal. If approved by the empowered group of ministers and the cabinet, the government will get about Rs. 200,000 crore over a period of 14 years. The exact amount will depend on the bids and the payment schedule.

However, this may not have any impact on consumers as tariff is driven by competition and only two players in a circle have spectrum in the 900 MHz band.

The incumbent operators will be given 18 months for transition. The premium spectrum in metros will be auctioned before May 2013.

The move will adversely impact the incumbent players such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea as they will have to shell out additional amount if they wish to retain the spectrum.

Earlier, the commission had recommended that the reserve price for 900 MHz band should be twice that of 1800 MHz band.