India’s Economic Times is reporting that those operators planning on only offering 3G services will be required to pay 3% of their total annual revenue as a spectrum usage fee. Meanwhile, existing 2G operators which are successful in obtaining a 3G concession will be called on to pay a further 1% of their annual revenue on top of their existing fees; presently 2G operators pay between 2% and 6% of their revenue based on the amount of spectrum they have been allocated and their region(s) of operation. In total the government raised approximately INR40 billion (USD824 million) in spectrum usage fees in the 2008-09 fiscal year. The group of ministers (GoM) tasked with setting the rules for the introduction and auction of 3G licences has also decided against imposing a 2% administrative tax on successful bidders, claiming that such a charge could hinder bidding.
In separate but related news, telecoms minister Andimuthu Raja has indicated that the government will this week announce a date for the conference for potential bidders for the 3G spectrum. The pre-bid conference will discuss the process and schedule of the auction of spectrum, while Mr Raja also reiterated that the auction itself will be held within 90 days from the date of the decisions on pricing and spectrum availability that were made by the GoM at the end of August.