The Economic Times reports that operators in India are facing increased revenue shares with the government in regions where they have entered into 3G roaming alliances, to compensate for possible revenue losses incurred by the country.
Under the current regime, operators with 3G spectrum pay higher revenue share in the form of a “spectrum usage fee,” and there is concern that there could be allegations of revenue losses where services are provided by an operator which does not own the frequencies.
It was suggested that the government could see an additional INR7 billion (US$134 million) in revenue if the proposal is adopted.
While it was previously asserted that India’s DoT (Department of Telecommunications) and regulator Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) had concluded that the intra-company roaming deals were illegal, no action has been taken against those involved. The Economic Times said that operators may be open to the new proposal, if it can put an end to uncertainty about 3G roaming.
According to the paper, the revenue share of 6 percent is increased to 7 percent in areas where operators hold 3G spectrum. It was suggested that the higher revenue share will be imposed retrospectively – from the date that the roaming deals became operational.
It was previously said that Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular had demanded their 3G fees are refunded, if the government went ahead with its plan to outlaw national roaming agreements. They argued they had been given approval for 3G roaming ahead of the licence issue.
3G roaming is necessary in India because operators failed to gain nationwide licences in the country’s spectrum licensing process, leaving coverage black-holes which can be filled by commercial partnerships.