The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has raised a demand of Rs 5,384 crore from Reliance Communications liberalising its 800 Mhz spectrum in 16 circles, which it plans to share with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio.
Also, a one-time fees for spectrum usage charges of Rs 1,596 crore has been raised, according to sources.
DoT had raised the demand on December 22 and asked RCom to pay within a month.
RCom had applied for liberalising its 800 MHz spectrum in 20 circles a few months back. The company, though is yet to receive any notice for the remaining four circles, where market determined price is not available. The four circles are — Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
DoT had sought telecom regulator Trai’s views on liberalisation of spectrum in circles where market determined price is not available. To liberalise administratively alloted spectrum, telcos need to pay market determined price for the remaining period of the licence.
Recently, Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani had announced RCom will share/trade spectrum Reliance Jio including for the much-awaited 4G services. Addressing the annual general meeting last year, Ambani had said both the companies were at “an advance stage of discussion” for finalising a nationwide spectrum trading and sharing arrangement.
The government had issued guidelines to liberalise the administratively alloted 2G spectrum, allowing operators to offer latest mobile services, including 4G, using the same radiowaves. The spectrum will be liberalised for the remaining period of the licence terms held by the telecom operator. Telcos will have to pay auction determined price prorated for the balance validity period and the government will levy latest auction determined price on the spectrum to be liberalised. In case auction price is more than one year old then the prevailing market rate would be determined by indexing the last auction price at the rate of SBI prime lending rate.