GSM association urges Centre to cut levy on operators

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Kochi, Apr 16 (UNI) The GSM Association, a global trade association for the mobile industry, today urged the Centre to cut in half the five per cent levy on telecom operators' gross adjusted revenues, which is channeled into the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

Speaking at the second 'Connecting Rural Communities Asia Forum' here, GSMA Vice-President (Public Policy) Gabriel Solomon said the levy was increasing operators' cost and ultimately the cost of mobile services for the consumers.

''Globally, 75 per cent of the cash in USOF is not spent and we urge the Indian Government to cut the levy by at least half and remove handset taxes as that will make mobile phones more affordable for rural consumers and spur industry investment in currently un-served areas,'' he noted.

Quoting a GSMA report, Mr Solomon said the extension of mobile coverage into rural areas could also be fuelled by infrastructure sharing agreements between mobile operators, which could make new base stations more cost-effective.

UNI MA DS AK GC1852

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