DoT adds more spectrum charges to the pile

14 Feb 2013

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued notices to Vodafone India, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications (RCOM) demanding additional spectrum usage fees dating back to 2008. The Economic Times writes that Vodafone has been told to pay INR8.77 billion (USD162.76 million) whilst Bharti has been charged INR12 billion; the fee levied on RCOM was not made public. The charges relate to the share of revenue paid by cellcos as part of their spectrum usage fees. The DoT holds that the share is from aggregate gross revenues, whilst carriers have argued that the fee is only applicable to revenues from mobile services. However, an October 2011 Supreme Court ruling supported the regulator’s right to apply the tax to non-telecoms transactions. The new charges take into consideration total income, including from handset sales, corporate receipts, real estate transactions and interest from bank deposits. An executive from an unspecified cellco has reportedly challenged the ruling and is appealing the decision with the Supreme Court.