New Delhi, Oct 9 (IANS) The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) has again sought an opinion from the Attorney General on its decision to charge a one-time fee from telecom companies for holding extra spectrum based on the price to be determined by the upcoming 2G auction.
The EGoM, headed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, had Monday recommended charging a one-time fee prospectively for all telecom players who hold spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz against Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati's suggestion that a one-time fee should be levied retrospectively from July 2008 on spectrum allocated to firms beyond 6.2 MHz.
According to a top official of the Department of Telecom (DoT), the EGoM has explained to the Attorney General the basis behind the decision to prospectively charge for spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz.
After the Supreme Court had cancelled 122 mobile permits earlier this year, the ministers thought it was not possible to award anyone spectrum at the old rates.
"The EGoM's decision was based on several factors... There are legal ramifications of every liability. If we do not do this... then people who have 4.4 MHz will say that give us 1.8 MHz free. We can't do that. The question is to do what is fair and equitable for allowing level playing field," the official said preferring anonymity.
The attorney general's opinion will be brought before the cabinet, which is scheduled to meet Oct 16.
The official also said that out of the Rs.27,200 crore that the companies will have to shell out, Rs.10,620 crore will be paid by BSNL and MTNL.
The government at the same time is optimistic that there will be good bidding in the auction. The base price for the auction is Rs.14,000 crore.