Scrap double tax on foreign carriers

A Department of Telecom committee has recommended that the communications ministry should scrap the double taxation structure on foreign carriers operating in India such as AT&T, BT, Verizon, Orange and Cable & Wireless among others

At present, these foreign carriers, which carry national and international long distance voice and data (NLD & ILD) largely use infrastructure of existing operators Bharti, BSNL and Reliance Communications as they don’t have comprehensive pan-India network. Under current rules, they pay licence fees twice to the government— when they buy bandwidth from existing operators and when they resell it to customers. Doing away with this double taxation regime will enable foreign operators to compete with established players such as Bharti in the domestic market.

Last year, the DoT had deferred implementing this proposal and had asked an internal committee headed by the department’s additional secretary to study the issue again. One of the primary reasons that led to this DoT move was repeated representations from the Association of Competitive Telecom Operators (ACTO), the industry body representing foreign carriers in India, asking the government for corrective action on double taxation