The Department of Telecom is close to reaching a mid-way on the contentious issue of annual spectrum charges which might see it neither implementing the uniform level of 3% as recommended by regulator Trai nor maintaining it at the current upper limit of 8%.
"We have discussed it (solution) with industry players and they seem to be satisfied with it. It is very unlikely that we will lower it to 3% but it is also not going to be at 8%," a government source told PTI.
Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC), a bone of contention between leading GSM players and Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL), is levied annually as a percentage of revenue earned by telecom companies. It varies from 3-8%.
GSM industry body Cellular Operators Association of India has demanded that the government implement Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai's) suggestion for a uniform SUC - 3 to 5% - from April 1, across the telecom services sector for the success of the next round of spectrum auction scheduled to start from February 3.
If Trai's recommendations are accepted by the government then it will burden firms holding broadband wireless access spectrum, including RJIL that at present pays 1% SUC, it added.
On the other hand RJIL and Videocon Telecom have opposed any change in existing SUC regime, specially airwaves that have been already allocated.
RJIL has also said that recommendation of Trai will not stand scrutiny of law and will also disturb level playing field in the industry.