It seems to a relief but how much of a relief, no one knows for sure till now. So telcos are waiting with bated breath for the Union Cabinet to decide on how much lower will 2G spectrum base price be—it is almost certain that the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) which met today finalised a price lower than what the sector regulator TRAI had recommended.
Also, the EGoM agreed to allow telcos to stagger payments for spectrum—another big relief since this would take a lot of load off telco balance sheets even if the base price is not significantly lower than what TRAI suggested.
Multiple sources confirmed that the base price—which TRAI pegged at Rs 3622 crore per mhz or about Rs 18000 crore for 5 mhz of spectrum—will be lower.
While DoT officials merely said that a decision on pricing has been taken they did not divulge what this decision was. A report by NDTV said that the EGoM has recommended a price of between Rs 14000-16000 crore for 5 mhz of spectrum. But a CNBC-TV18 report pegged spectrum price at Rs 14000-18000 crore.
But the DoT officials confirmed that the EGoM meeting today agreed to telcos’ demand on staggered payment.
They clarified that no decision was taken on the issue of charging existing telcos for spectrum they hold at new prices while renewing their licenses and that a meeting of the EGoM will be held again to discuss this issue.
Also, another issue—the spectrum usage charge—was decided upon today but again, DoT officials did not divulge how much charge will telcos have to pay annually. At present, it varies between 3-8 percent.