Telecom tower
{Representative Image]Reuters

The Telecom Commission on Monday fixed a minimum annual charge of three percent of a company's adjusted gross revenue as spectrum usage charge. This would increase the user charges for Reliance Jio Infocomm and Aircel.

"We have to maintain level-playing field and then move towards uniform service usage charge rate for all airwaves, which Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been suggesting. The recommendation made by telecom commission earlier will stay. A new point has been added that all telecom operators will have to pay a minimum three percent Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC)," an official was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India. 

The Cabinet will consider the Telecom Commission's proposal next week.

The new proposal will be implemented for the airwaves sold in the upcoming auction. The same rate will be fixed for existing airwaves with the telecom operators.

Bidding for the Rs. 5.66 lakh crore spectrum auction begins about 45-50 days from the date the Cabinet approves the proposal.

Major telecom operators such as Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, which pay a higher usage charge, had demanded a flat revenue share for all operators. But this proposal was not accepted by the telecom department, the Economic Times reported.

The Telecom Commission had earlier proposed a different formula for calculating the SUC. It had also ignored a separate formula proposed by the telecom regulator, TRAI earlier this month.  

According to the latest rule, telecom operators will now have to pay the following:

Telecom operators Old telecom commission formula New telecom commission formula
Airtel 3.80% 3.80%
Vodafone 4.80% 4.80%
Idea 4.5% 4.5%
Reliance Jio 2.88% 3.05%
Aircel 2.83% 3%

Major Indian telecom companies may shell out around Rs. 1 lakh crore on spectrum usage in the upcoming auction, according to credit rating agency Crisil. About 75 percent of the total amount would be spent by private telecom players.

The Bharti Airtel stock was trading at Rs. 369.10 at around 9.56 a.m. on Tuesday, down 0.32 percent from its previous close. Shares of Idea Cellular were trading at Rs. 107.75 apiece, up 0.65 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange.