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DoT sops to telcos likely

DoT sops to telcos likely

Telecom service providers in the country may get sops from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in the form of subsidy, for increasing mobile coverage in rural areas. This was endorsed by the DoT's internal panel in its report on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) recommendations last year on spectrum management and other licensing issues. Trai had said service providers which had covered half the habitations in their licensed area with a population of 500-2,000 should get a reduction of 0.5 per cent in the annual licence fee. Those which had covered all such habitations should get two per cent off. However, DoT's panel has not accepted this. Instead, it said there should be other ways of helping operators increase their coverage in rural areas. Telecom service providers contribute a fixed five per cent of their adjusted gross revenues as a levy towards a Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), used for providing affordable services in rural and far-flung areas. The government also allocates money for the USOF set up in 2002.

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