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Cabinet likely to have discussed taking back one-time spectrum charges on telcos: Sources

Cabinet likely to have discussed taking back one-time spectrum charges on telcos: Sources

The beneficiaries of this would be Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea as Reliance Jio is not a legacy operator.

The OTSC case dates back to 2008 and is pending before various high courts, apart from the Supreme Court. The OTSC case dates back to 2008 and is pending before various high courts, apart from the Supreme Court.

The Union Cabinet has likely to have discussed taking back one-time spectrum ( OTSC) charges amounting to Rs 40,000 crore against the telecom majors, a move that will give relief to Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, government sources told Business Today.

The beneficiaries of this would be Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea as Reliance Jio is not a legacy operator.

The OTSC case dates back to 2008 and is pending before various high courts, apart from the Supreme Court.

The charge has been levied by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on the operators for holding excess spectrum — beyond 4.4 Mhz — which is referred to as OTSC.

The decision to levy OTSC was taken by the United Progressive Alliance government in the aftermath of the 122 2G licences given by then telecom minister A Raja in January 2008. The licences were cancelled in February 2012 by the Supreme Court. But the furore it raised as these were given at 2001 rates of Rs 1,658 crore made the government decide to charge for spectrum given to the operators beyond the contracted amount through administrative orders.

Prior to 2010, operators got 4.4 Mhz spectrum bundled with licences and subsequent tranches came on achieving certain subscriber levels.

With inputs from Chetan Bhutani