The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday indicated that it would come out with a paper seeking views on framing an ‘exit policy' for new telecom services providers, who are operating in a highly competitive market dominated by the existing GSM players.

“I expect to issue a pre-consultation paper on the exit policy by the end of this month,'' TRAI Chairman J. S. Sarma told journalists on the sidelines of the India Telecom Summit, organised jointly by the Telecom Ministry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The exit policy will allow new players, who wish to exit the crowded Indian telecom industry that has as many as 12-13 players in certain circles, to surrender their spectrum and licences. The current policy offers no exit route to operators who have taken a telecom licence.

A pan-India operator has to pay now Rs.1,650 crore for a licence, but has no option to surrender it, along with the start-up spectrum of 4.4 Mhz, with no clause to get money back from the government.

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