The government will collect substantially more revenue from telecom services than the estimate of Rs 52,806.36 crore in the union budget after adding the collection from the proposed spectrum collection, a top official from the telecom department said.
According to the budget document, the government has lowered its revenue estimate from the telecom segment to Rs 52,806 crore for the next financial year, reported news agency PTI.
Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman told PTI that some people are making advance payments and since spectrum auction is proposed we expect this to go northwards. We won’t be able to give any estimates without any recommendations in hand but it will be significantly higher, he added. The revenue collection of the telecom department is likely to be higher than budget estimates of Rs 53,986.72 crore for the current fiscal at Rs 71,959.24 crore.
As of February 3, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has already collected Rs 69,559 crore, informed Rajaraman. The proceeds from communication services include license fees from telecom operators and receipts on account of spectrum usage levy at the rate of 8% of their adjusted gross revenue (AGR).
Rajaraman said, “We will not be able to guess 5G spectrum auction estimates till we have Trai’s recommendations in hand. These recommendations will undergo some changes”.
At present, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is currently working on asserting recommendations on 5G spectrum price and allocation rules which it is expected to submit in March.
Earlier, TRAI had suggested the base price of 5G spectrum in 3,300-3,600 Mhz band at about Rs 492 crore per Mhz unpaired spectrum on a pan-India basis.
Telecom operators will have to pay a minimum of Rs 9,840 crore on a pan-India basis to buy a 5G spectrum in the medium frequency band of 3,300-3,600 Mhz.
According to the PTI report, if the demands of telecom operators are met then the medium band spectrum should cost them just Rs 492 crore at the base price. They have demanded that the base price of spectrum in higher frequency bands of 24.5 GHz to 29.5 GHz should be fixed at 1% of the base price of the mid-frequency band.
The government is focused on enhancing the ease of doing business, lowering business costs and compliance burden on the firms and the second phase of reforms around these are expected to be announced by April-May, said Rajaraman to PTI.
In September, the government has already given major reforms to increase liquidity in the sector and reduce the load on debt-ridden companies like Vodafone Idea and BSNL.
”Telecom infrastructure is at the foundation of any digital economy and the government is very keen about digital inclusion as a means of financial inclusion and development. For this, equitable access to telecommunications across the country is very important. That is why we are focusing on developing more technologies which will improve affordability, accessibility etc,” PTI quoted Rajaraman as saying.