EGoM approves MTNL/BSNL bailout

22 Oct 2012

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) has given in-principle approval to a proposal for the government to bear the cost of the one-off spectrum fees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), the Business Standard reports. The move will still need to be cleared by the cabinet, and details are yet to be ironed out by the finance ministry. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, cellcos with excess spectrum – more than 4.4MHz per circle for GSM operators and more than 2.5MHz per circle for CDMA providers – are expected to pay a one-off fee for their additional spectrum for the remaining period of their licences with the price to be determined by the upcoming spectrum auction. MTNL and BSNL subsequently requested that the government pay the amount, as neither operator was on stable financial footing.