New telecom policy likely to be cleared by April

Department of Telecom (DoT) is planning to implement much awaited new telecom policy — NTP2011 by the end of April, this year.

The DoT is likely to circulate a Cabinet note about the policy which envisages to bring in transparency and clarity in the telecom sector.

The draft note is expected to reach the Cabinet for consideration by March 21, and a final decision is expected by the end of April this year, sources in the DoT said.

Recently, the DoT which already sought the stake holders comments for the proposed policy, made a presentation before  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior ministers.

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

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

The PMO, which is currently studying the Supreme Court judgement of cancellation of 122 telecom licences, also sought full details about the 2G scam from the DoT for further study.

With DoT  informing the prime minister earlier that it requires at least 13 months to hold 2G auction despite the Supreme Court asking to complete the process within four months, the government is working on how to address this issue.

The PMO also sought the details of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, and spectrum allocation decisions taken during the tenure of various ministers for the past one decade including the former minister Dayanidhi Maran.

On the telecom policies, the PMO has directed the telecom department to furnish complete information on spectrum allocation, sharing of spectrum and TRAI recommendations concerning spectrum allocation, sources in the DoT said.

According to the PMO, “important issues have been identified which are likely to be raised in the forthcoming session of Parliament”, and sought notes on them.

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