Indian gov't may abandon 2G/3G license fee split

The Indian government may abandon the concept of charging different spectrum license fees for 2G and 3G services, due to the impracticality of the proposal.

A subcommittee set up by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to determine the feasibility of the scheme has determined that it is impractical for operators to accurately divide their accounts into 2G and 3G revenue streams.

Under the proposal Indian operators would have been charged a lower proportion of their annual revenue in spectrum license fees for their 3G operations.

But the panel has suggested revised terms which would still give standalone 3G operators a discount - under the proposal these operators would be charged 3% of their annual revenues, while 2G & 3G service providers would be charged between 4-5% depending on how much spectrum they own.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) has attacked the government for its decision to allocate 2G spectrum on a first-come-first-served basis.

The party, which is seeking an enquiry on the decision, argues that while the decision to price 2G licenses at 2001 levels to keep costs low for consumers, there were no efforts to ensure consumers benefit through the license terms or conditions. 

The CPIM labelled the decision a "scam", yet the party also alleges that the decision has cost the treasury $12.6 billion in lost revenue.

The CPIM holds 44 seats in India's 552 seat Lok Sabha (lower house).

In more DoT news, the committee set up to review India's proposed Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) trial has completed its report, according to Telecom Tiger, paving the way for MVNO guidelines to be announced soon.

Lastly, the department has asked operators to self-certify the radiation levels emitted from their towers, as per International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) standards.

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