New telecom policy likely to be cleared by April end

New telecom policy likely to be cleared by April end

The Department of Telecom has chalked out a timetable for implementation of new telecom policy -- NTP2011 -- according to which it would be cleared by the end of April this year.

The draft Cabinet note of new telecom policy, which is envisaged to bring in transparency and clarity in the telecom sector, is expected to be circulated to concerned Ministries by tomorrow, to which the responses are expected by March 6.

As per the presentation made by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior ministers, the draft note is expected to reach the Cabinet for consideration by March 21 and a final decision was expected by end of April this year.

Under the proposed regulations, operators would be allowed to hold higher spectrum of up to 8 MHz (except Delhi and Mumbai where the upper limit would be 10 MHz) and pay a uniform licence fee of 8 per cent, the presentation said.

The new rules would also bring in relaxed merger and acquisition norms and operators would also be free to acquire additional frequency beyond the prescribed limit through auction.

The last telecom policy was unveiled over a decade ago in 1999 when India's phone subscribers base was barely a couple of million. It has since grown to over 800 million.