Telecom operators have requested Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to apply the incremental spectrum usage charge (SUC) of 0.5 per cent only to the shared portion of the airwave for now rather than the entire spectrum band which is being shared.

Operators are of the view that any additional fee would act as a deterrent for carriers to enter into sharing agreements.

Further, telcos have urged that the authorities should look at the necessity of the SUC charge itself, given that airwaves are bought in auctions, by paying market prices. In addition, the telcos also urged that inter-band sharing and microwave backhaul sharing must also be allowed to gain spectral efficiency for coverage, capacity, quality and speed for users.

At present, telcos pay between 3-5 per cent of their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) as SUC to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Under current laws on sharing airwaves with another carrier, both operators must pay an additional 0.5 per cent of AGR for that whole band as SUC and not just the portion of the spectrum which is shared.