With attorney general GE Vahanvati opining that telecom operators should not be charged for excess spectrum retrospectively from the date of allocation, the government may fail to achieve its target of raising Rs. 40,000 crore from the spectrum auction and fee this financial year.
The Telecom Commission, the highest decision-making body in the sector, had earlier approved charging for excess spectrum retrospectively.
Under the old system, the telecom licences were issued along with a start-up spectrum of 4.4 MHz, which could go up to 6.2 MHz.
Incumbent operators were issued spectrum beyond this limit without charging any one-time fee. According to a CAG report in November, the government would have earned R36,933 crore by charging for excess spectrum.
The operators should be charged for excess spectrum “not from the date of allotment, but from July 2008,” said the attorney general in his opinion, submitted to the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on spectrum, on October 4. EGoM will meet on Monday to take a final decision.