Vodafone India seeks uniform SUC from eGoM

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NEW DELHI: Vodafone India has petitioned the empowered-Group of Ministers (eGoM) looking into telecom spectrum auctions to implement a uniform 3% usage charge for mobile airwaves against the existing and staggered regime where charges go up to as high as 8% as spectrum holdings increase. The company, the country's second-biggest operator, said this should be implemented before the fresh round of spectrum auctions in January and added that the measure will lead to healthy auctions.

"Vodafone has pointed out that if Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) were maintained at the existing differential and discriminatory levels instead of a uniform SUC as recommended by (regulator) Trai, it would once again stifle participation in auctions," the company said in an appeal to the eGoM (headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram) ahead of its meeting on Friday.

TOI had reported about Vodafone's stance on the SUC in its edition dated November 13.

Trai had, in its recommendations on spectrum pricing submitted to the Department of Telecom (DoT) in September, recommended a flat SUC 3%. "Correcting the existing SUC regime is imperative for any effective spectrum reforms to be implemented. Failing this, all spectrum policy reforms being considered by the Government - such as M&A norms, spectrum sharing, trading, etc. - will simply not succeed," Vodafone said.
The company also said that there should be no re-farming (or re-sale) of 900 MHz spectrum and incumbents should be allowed to retain it after paying a certain amount of fee. "Towards this end, Vodafone had made an offer of Rs 4,000 crore to DoT at 3% SUC for extension of its existing licences for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata service areas for 20 years."

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