The Union Cabinet has cleared the government's proposal to levy a spectrum usage charge (SUC) of 5% on annual revenue from 2G airwaves bought through the upcoming auction, along with a weighted average system for old and new airwaves, paving way for the auctions to begin on February 3. "The Cabinet has ratified the decisions taken by the Empowered Group of Ministers on spectrum usage charge," said Uma Shankar, joint secretary at the telecom department.
The approval puts to rest speculations around the possibility of any further delay in the bandwidth sale, crucial for the likes of No. 1 operator Bharti Airtel and No. 2 Vodafone India who must win 900 Mhz spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata to continue to offer uninterrupted services. Vodafone's licences in all three circles expire November 2014, the same time when Bharti's licenses expire in Kolkata and Delhi.