Trai bats for lower levies for telcos, cut in GST rate
Telecom regulator TRAI has exhorted the Telecom Department to "favourably consider" its recommendations to cut levies and relaxing payment period for auctioned spectrum.
This, TRAI said, will help ease the financial burden of telcos and keep services affordable.
TRAI has also asked the Telecom Department to take up with the Finance Ministry two issues -- reduction in GST rate to five per cent from 18, and treating telecom as core infrastructure sector. The regulator said it finds "considerable merit" in these two suggestions made by telecom operators.
"On several other issues like levies of licence fee, Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund, spectrum charges, promotion of wireline infrastructure etc, the authority in the past has already given its recommendations to the government," TRAI Principal Advisor, SK Mishra said in a letter to Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecom and Chairperson of Telecom Commission.
TRAI had favoured reducing USO levy to three per cent (compared to five per cent of telcos' revenue) so that effective licence fee is reduced to six per cent (compared to eight per cent).
It had also recommended that spectrum usage charges for all auctioned spectrum should be three per cent of telcos' gross revenue. TRAI had also, in January 2016, recommended that the balance payment period for installments of auctioned radiowaves be increased to 18 years.
In its latest letter, TRAI has asked the Telecom Department to favourably consider its past recommendations in this regard as they would help in minimising the financial stress of the telecom companies and enable them to offer quality services to consumers at affordable prices.