Telcos seek refund of unutilised ITC, cut in spectrum charges, licence fee

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Industry body COAI has urged the government for urgent rationalisation of “high burden” of regulatory levies on telecom service providers (TSPs), including a cut in spectrum charges and licence fee, as it cited the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector.

In a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) also made a plea for refund of the unutilised input tax credit immediately.

“Else, we request that soft loan at MCLR rate (marginal cost of funding-based lending rate) should be given to companies, using the GST input credit as collateral,” COAI Director General Rajan Mathews said in the letter dated June 26.

The association has also urged the government to rationalise the “high burden of the regulatory levies on the TSPs with immediate effect” citing “the adverse impact on the economy and operations of the digital communication industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic”. 

“The effective rate of the spectrum usage charge (SUC) should be reduced by 3 percent for all the telecom service providers…licence fee contribution should be immediately brought down from 8 per cent to 3 per cent,” Mathews said.

On the issue of goods and service tax (GST) or service tax, COAI said levy of GST should be exempted on licence fees, SUC, and payment of spectrum acquired in auctions. “Exempt service tax on amount of licence fee/spectrum usage charges payable by telecom operators in compliance with…Supreme Court order,” COAI said.

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