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Recommendations on methodology for levy of spectrum charges for provision of satellite based services released

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released recommendations on Methodology for levy of Spectrum Charges for provision of Satellite based Services using Gateway installed in India under ‘sui-generis’ category. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had requested TRAI to provide recommendations on methodology for levy of spectrum charges for provision of satellite based services using gateway installed in India under ‘sui-generis’ category under the terms of clause 11 (1) (a) of TRAI Act, 1997 (as amended).

The stakeholders were requested to provide their comments on whether the formula based spectrum charges be replaced with AGR based SUC in respect of provision of services by BSNL under its license for Provision and Operation of Satellite based Services using Gateway installed in India under ‘sui-generis’ category and if so, what percentage of AGR should be levied as the spectrum usage charges.

The authority examined the comments of all the stakeholders and noted the consensus view that there is no economic rationale in the existing upfront formula based spectrum charges. While a few stakeholders are of the view that there should be no spectrum charges, most of the stakeholders are of the view that the formula based spectrum charges should be replaced with AGR based SUC.

Based on the comments/inputs received from the stakeholders and on its own analysis, TRAI has finalized its recommendations. The salient features of the recommendations are:

  • The formula based spectrum charges should be replaced with AGR based spectrum charges in respect of provision of services by BSNL under its license for Provision and Operation of Satellite based services using Gateway installed in India under sui-generis category. These charges would cover the entire spectrum charges for handsets as well 8.S for gateway.
  • The spectrum charges should be levied at 1 percent of the AGR of BSNL’s satellite based services under sui-generis category.
  • While determining the AGR for the purpose of levy of license fee and spectrum charges, the cost of handsets (which is separately identifiable) should be allowed as deduction from the gross revenue of BSNL’s satellite based services under sui-generis category.
  • There should be a defined time-line not exceeding 30 days within which an Import License should be granted and the same should be declared in the portal as well as in the citizen’s charter.
    DoT may review whether roaming service can be allowed for GSP service customers in a similar way in which mobile roaming is permitted.
  • DoT may review the need to restrict the GSP Service in certain (barred) areas, consequent to the establishment of gateway by BSNL.
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