New Delhi: Telecom industry wants the new government to tackle the issue of multiple levies on the sector on a priority basis.
“(The) Government should make uniform licence fee of 6% across all services to avoid arbitrage opportunities,” said GSM operators association COAI director general T.V. Ramachandran.
His counterpart, S.C. Khanna, secretary general of CDMA operators association, also echoed the same. He also sought for reduction in telecom levies saying at the present rate of 30%, it is globally the highest.
“When we are paying 10% service tax and revenue share also, why should there be any other tax,” he asked.
Since both the associations have different agenda, they focussed on their priority areas which they want the new telecom minister to take up immediately.
Ramachandran said the new minister should resolve the 2G spectrum issues immediately adding a committee has submitted recommendation which should be finalised without delay.
On the spectrum issue, Khanna said new GSM operators should be given 6.2 Mhz of spectrum instead of the existing 4.4 Mhz.
COAI’s other priority was Government should do enough to increase rural connectivity and as part of that it should restore the 2% reduction in USO levy which has been rejected by the PMO due to some procedural glitch.
“This should be immediately rectified and restored to boost rural connectivity”, Ramachandran said.
COAI wants the 3G spectrum auction to start as early as possible so that private operators start the service soon.
Khanna called for more competition in the sector to ensure tariffs going down further.
“The new minister should ensure that competition must be carried on based on number of operators”, Khanna said.
Khanna feels with a strong footing this time, Congress should be able carry out telecom reforms better this time than the last time.
The mobile subscriber base in the world’s fastest-growing wireless market stands at 391.8 million as on March 2009, as per the the Telecom Regulatory Authority. In April, GSM operators added 8.93 million subscribers taking the total subscriber base to almost 400 million mobile subscribers.