With the tiff between the finance ministry and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) getting bitter over the jurisdiction, the latter may withdraw its decision to waive license fees for fixed-line service operators in rural regions.

Earlier, DoT had favored rolling out services in rural areas and had even amended the terms of the basic services and universal access service (UAS) licence to accommodate the telecom license fee waiver in September 2008. The move, which has been opposed by the finance ministry, was to benefit state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam, as well as private players like Reliance Communications, Bharti Airtel, HFCL and Tata Teleservices.

The finance ministry had objected the waiver saying that DoT should have moved a note for Cabinet consideration and had never obtained its concurrence to the proposal.

But after the complaint from the finance ministry, DoT sees it is unlikely to get Cabinet approval. The only alternative at this time for the DoT is to seek the Cabinet to endorse the waiver of licence fee for wireline operation in rural India, on which the final call will be taken by the Telecom Commission.

The Commission had decided last year to improve the number of fixed line network in rural India for a greater penetration of broadband and favored the waiver in the licence fee operators pay for the services.