Telecom companies have been continuously talking about increasing tariffs citing rising inflation, expensive spectrum, or high license fees. In 2021, the companies also increased the tariff by 20-25%.
Even in 2022, companies have been talking about increasing the tariff. Earlier it was believed that companies could increase tariffs by 10-15% in November, but this has not happened yet. Now it is expected that the tariff should not be increased.
Actually, a major part of the expenses of the companies is the annual license fee. Currently, companies have to pay 8% of their Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) as license fee every year. But in the new Telecom Bill, the government can reduce this license fee.
The Telecom Ministry was already embroiled in controversies because of the first draft of the Telecom Bill. Till November 20, 900 objections had come on this draft. It is now believed that by the end of December, the government may present a revised draft, in which the license fee may also be reduced from 8% to 5-6% of AGR.
Know, how much the telecom companies will benefit from the new telecom bill and how much this benefit can reach the common man.
In the first draft of the Telecom Bill, it was said that communication apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype would also be brought under the ambit of regulations. Under this, the companies running them will also have to follow some rules to do business in India-
- These companies will have to take a license.
- Have to keep your data on an Indian server.
- Investigating agencies will have to be given access to the data.
Big Tech companies have been very vocal against all these three provisions. The government was also under pressure regarding this provision since the first draft was made public.
Minister Ashwini Vaishnav has also said on several forums after this that the government does not intend to impose restrictions on these companies.
It is believed that due to this pressure, the government may either remove the provision of licenses for these companies in the new draft or may reduce the license fee by keeping the license mandatory.
According to some media reports, the license fee can be reduced to 1 or 2% of AGR. But industry experts say that instead of doing it in one go, the government can do it in a phased manner.
Government can take a U-turn in two more important matters
In the new draft of the Telecom Bill, many things will be different from the first draft. The government can take a U-turn on two more important issues-