The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has pitched for a reduction in the GST rate for telecom services.
- TRAI has asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) to approach the Finance Ministry with two issues:
- Reduction in GST rate to 5%cent from the current 18%
- Treating telecom as core infrastructure sector and economy enabler in India
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is the regulator of the telecommunications sector in India. It was established on 20 February 1997 by an Act of Parliament to regulate telecom services and tariffs in India. Mission: To create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in India and thus enabling the country to have… Continue reading Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
Universal Service Obligation Fund (USO Fund) levies:
- TRAI has repeated its suggestion to reduce the USO fund levies to 3% of the adjusted gross revenue from the current 5%.
- Post reduction, the applicable uniform rate of licence fee would become 6% from the present 8% of the adjusted gross revenue.
Established in 2002, the USOF is headed by the USOF Administrator who reports to the Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003 gave statutory status to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) The USOF’s main aim is to provide universal telecom services and ensure that even the unconnected areas in the… Continue reading Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
- In a meeting between the regulator and telecom operators on June 15, the operators had raised concerns over differential spectrum usage charges (SUC) as there was no uniformity in the SUC for different telecom operators.
- TRAI has also asked the DoT to relax payment period for auctioned spectrum.
- At present, operators pay 25% or 33% as upfront charges of total spectrum price and the remaining is paid over a ten-year period after a moratorium of 2 years.
- TRAI has suggested 10% of the bid amount as initial payment with the remaining payment spread over 18 years for spectrum payments in the 700/800/900/2100/2300/2500 MHz bands
A spectrum usage charge (SUC) is payable by the licensees providing mobile access services, as a percentage of their Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR). SUC is payable as per the spectrum slabs/ rates notified by the Government from time to time.
- The telecom industry is currently sitting on a debt of Rs 4.6 lakh crore.
- It would be a sigh of relief for the telecom industry if the Department of Telecom accepts the recommendations of TRAI.
- The recommendations if accepted are expected to ease the financial burden of telecommunication companies and keep services affordable.