Two Delhi Municipal corporations (DMC), namely North DMC and South DMC have increased the tower installation rates in Delhi by almost 150 per cent to Rs 500,000 per tower for a five-year span. Further, each application for setting up mobile towers in Delhi will attract an extra one-time levy of Rs 10,000 towards administrative expenses. In addition, installation charges will rise by 25 per cent if a tower is shared between multiple telcos.

Both North and South Delhi municipal corporations, have in separate circulars, dated January 21 and January 5 stated these revised installation charges for cell towers/poles.

Besides permission fee, telcos need to pay rentals to the tenants. Usually, the rental for Delhi ranges anywhere from Rs 25,000 per tower to Rs 50,000 per tower, depending on the locality. Apart from that, companies need to spend on electricity and diesel to run the mobile towers.

The revised rates will force telecom operators to shell out Rs 1.2 billion for putting towers in new areas for five years.

With this, telcos in Delhi may face deterioration of services as installation of new towers in the capital has come to a halt.  To this end, the telecom industry has strongly objected to the increase in charges by the municipal bodies and are planning to write to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) expressing their concerns.

According to Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), this arbitrary increase in the fee by North DMC and South DMC is a violation of the settlement agreement between Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the telecom industry which was signed under the direction of the High Court in January 2020. The association said for the past three years till now, the towers have not been regularised as per the settlement agreement by MCDs and now this sudden arbitrary increase in the fee is shocking and surprise to the industry.

TAIPA has been actively pursuing with the Government of Delhi with support of DoT regarding the formulation of a uniform telecom infrastructure/right of way (RoW) policy for Delhi.