Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendation seeking one-time payment from mobile operators for spectrum held above 6.2 MHz has entered into litigation even before the department of telecommunications (DoT) could take a view on it.
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea — India’s top three private GSM telecom service providers — on Monday approached Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), over the TRAI recommendations.
When contacted, the operators refused to comment saying that the matter was sub-judice. The three companies have been criticising the TRAI recommendation as they will have to pay huge sums for the excess spectrum they hold.
TRAI had recommended that, for up to 8 MHz of spectrum, the companies should pay at the rate of the 3G price. For spectrum beyond 8 Mhz, they should pay at 1.3 times the 3G spectrum price.
Earlier, these operators were allotted spectrum on subscriber-linked criteria without any one-time charge.
These operators are also against the capping of spectrum at 8 MHz in all circles except Delhi and Mumbai, where the limit is 10 MHz.
These players are also opposed to vacating the 900 MHz spectrum as it will mean moving from a more efficient spectrum band to a less efficient one.
The regulator has also said the operators would be allotted spectrum if they meet roll out obligations, which entails rolling out networks in rural areas.