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Trai: Review telecom fee structure

New Delhi:A day after the debt-ridden telecom sector failed to get any relief in the Union Budget, telecom sector regulator TRAI today said the present framework for calculation of licence fee and spectrum usage charges requires review and it has to be ensured that the licensing framework provides sufficient space for experimentation and innovation.
In its recommendations for the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2018, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said the framework for calculation of licence fee and spectrum usage charges was devised approximately two decades back when the telecom networks and services were tightly coupled, convergence of networks, services, and devices were non-existent, and the telecom market was primarily a voice centric market. With the developments of technology and markets during the past two decades, the nature of market has changed from voice to data centric, and service providers need to offer a package of services which may consist of many licensed, and some unlicensed services, the regulator said in its recommendations.
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“In this context; it may be appropriate to review the concept of gross revenue (GR) and its underlining elements. A number of issues related to GR and adjusted gross revenue (AGR) are being litigated at various forums and it is essential that these be resolved at the earliest,” TRAI said.
“Besides reviewing the licence fee and spectrum usage charges structure, there is a need to review the rates of such levies keeping in view the fact that the access spectrum is now being assigned through auction, and telecommunication networks have become underlying infrastructure for growth of digital economy,” TRAI said. The government aims to formulate the NTP by March-end.