"We have received additional comments. We are going through that and formulating the recommendations. I can't give a committed time-frame but it should be in this month," TRAI's Principal Advisor for Broadcasting services N Parameswaran said on Wednesday.

The existing licenses have no provision for an extension or a renewal, implying that at the end of the 10-year period of validity the permit expires. Presently, there are six pay DTH operators in the country and Dish TV India was the first DTH licensee. The other five pay DTH operators got the wireless operating license between 2006 and 2008.

The first DTH license was due to expire on September 30, 2013 but existing guidelines are silent on the course of action to be adopted after expiry of the 10-year license period. Consequently, TRAI has started consultation process on October 1 under which it is comprehensively reviewing existing guidelines, including entry fee, and incorporating changes that have come in policies of the government.

As per data available, two leading DTH operators, who are in the DTH business for over 7 years, have paid an annual license fee of Rs 112 crore and Rs 121 crore for 2012-2013. As on October 1, they had paid Rs 354 crore and Rs 372 crore as license fee to the government.

"Since the entry fee of Rs 10 crore paid by an existing DTH operator is quite small as compared to its recurrent payment in the form of annual license fees paid during the license period. There could be a view that existing DTH operators may not be asked to pay the entry fee again," TRAI's consultation paper said.

However, for the sake of parity, entry fee should continue to be levied on new players who are seeking licenses, it said.

(Agencies)

Latest News  from Business News Desk