BSNL and Bharti call for uniform 6% licence fee

16 Nov 2009

According to India’s Economic Times, two of the country’s major telecoms providers, Bharti Airtel and state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) are calling for a standardised 6% licence fee on revenues for all services, including mobile, fixed line and internet. The move comes after it was revealed that a panel at the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had recommended that the fee be set at 8.5% of revenue. Another of India’s notable players, Reliance Communications (RCOM) has however argued that the licence fee should be decided based on gross or adjusted gross revenue, while it has also called for incumbent operators holding excess spectrum to face higher licence fees. The reports come as a result of requests by the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for responses to a consultation paper examining spectrum management and licence terms and conditions.

Currently, fixed line and mobile operators pay between 6% and 10% of annual revenue as a licence fee, depending on the circle of operation, while those offering national long-distance (NLD), international long-distance (ILD) and VSAT services pay 6%. Telcos only offering ISP services have no annual licence fee.