TDSAT blocks spectrum fee hike

30 Mar 2010

India’s Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has stayed a directive issued by the government that was set to increase taxes on wireless spectrum, the Economic Times reports. The tribunal released an interim order halting the levy increase, which was due to come into force on 1 April. The government last month announced that it was planning to raise taxes for both GSM- and CDMA-based mobile network operators by up to 50%; as cellcos currently pay between 2% and 6% of annual gross revenues as a spectrum fee this would have increased to between 3% and 8% based on the proposals. TDSAT’s move comes after a number of operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular approached it to complain about the new charges. The cellcos claim that the move by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to boost 2G spectrum usage charges is ‘arbitrary and discriminatory’.