Draft telecom policy for Cabinet nod in early Feb

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on January 30, 2011

Mr Kapil Sibal. File Photo - Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.   -  The Hindu

Geared up to meet the commitment in the 100 days agenda set by Telecom Minister Mr Kapil Sibal, the Department of Telecommunications is almost ready with the draft of the new National Telecom Policy and expects to send the same for Cabinet approval in the first week of February.

On Saturday, in a major shift from the old telecom policy, Mr Sibal had announced that henceforth, all operators will have to pay market price for initial as well additional spectrum. This means that going forward spectrum will not be bundled with licences.

The licence to be issued to telecom operators will be in the nature of an ‘Unified Licence’ and the licence holder will be free to offer any of the multifarious telecom services, Mr Sibal added.

“We are ready with most of the things. We are working on two tracks. One is industry-wide consultation that our minister is holding himself and second, we have official level groups that will look in to every aspect of the policy.

“By end of January, DoT will finalise its own view and have discussion in first week of February. Once it is done, we will then send it to Cabinet Secretariat for approval,” DoT Secretary Mr R Chandrashekhar told PTI.

This new National Telecom Policy will have postulates that are important for growth of the Indian telecom sector, especially issues related to spectrum allocation, norms for mergers and acquisitions and new pricing on which spectrum should be allocated to players, among others.

Mr Chandrashekhar said the DoT expects TRAI to come out with its findings on pricing and other pending studies related to spectrum management soon, so that TRAI’s views are also taken into consideration before sending the draft NTP-2011 to the Cabinet Secretariat.

TRAI, in May, 2010, had come up with recommendations on a Spectrum Management and Licensing Framework, but there were a few topics for which the authority required additional time.

One of the most important subjects was pricing in the 1800 Mhz band, in which most of the GSM players have been allocated spectrum for running 2G services.

The other one is recommendation on pricing of frequency band between 3.4 to 3.6 Ghz, where DoT along with Department of Space had to assess the compatibility of satellite-based services with the terrestrial BWA services and give a detailed analysis on feasibility of mitigation of the interference problems reported by some of the stakeholders in this band.

TRAI Chairman Mr J S Sarma is committed to coming out with final findings on these subjects by the end of this month.

Mr Chandrashekhar did not commit any timeline for commencement of NTP-2011, but added that in normal course, it takes 3-4 weeks for any action on policy issues. The road ahead will depend on the response the DoT will get from the Cabinet Secretariat, he added.

Published on January 30, 2011
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