TRAI, India’s telecoms regulator, has recommended to the government that mobile operators holding 4G spectrum should pay annual licence fees based on a proportion of revenue – even for those still to launch 4G services – reports Reuters.

The proposal is part of a wider recommendation by TRAI to levy ISPs and holders of BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum with a flat charge, calculated at 8 per cent of adjusted gross revenue (AGR).

BWA licence holders also include 4G players, such as Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm.

However, for 4G spectrum holders which have not yet launched services, TRAI recommends a fee based on a “presumptive” AGR. The fee calculation here is 5 per cent the sum paid by the operator for 4G spectrum in a particular region or ‘circle’.

The AGR-based scheme, which is an attempt to level the playing field among ISPs and BWA holders by creating a unified licensing regime, is in addition to universal licence fees that all players have to pay.

TRAI’s recommendation will now to be sent to the Department of Telecom (DoT). The Telecom Commission also needs to approve it, however, before it can be enforced.