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Updated: April 17, 2012 18:30 IST

New telecom policy to be in place by May: Sibal

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Union Minister for Information Technology Kapil Sibal addresses a conference on 'World IT Forum (WITFOR)2012' in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo Rajeev Bhatt.
The Hindu Union Minister for Information Technology Kapil Sibal addresses a conference on 'World IT Forum (WITFOR)2012' in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo Rajeev Bhatt.

The government on Tuesday said the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012 will be in place by May.

“It (NTP) will be done in May. We have already said that,” IT and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters on the sidelines of World IT Forum 2012.

The Economic Survey had estimated NTP to be in place by June.

The government through new telecom policy has made attempt to set roadmap for functioning and development of telecom sector starting 2012.

According to government sources, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is about to start inter-ministerial consultation on NTP 2012 after which the policy will be moved to the Cabinet for approval.

Under NTP 2012, it has been proposed to de-link spectrum from licences, reduce number of different licences, give industry liberal mergers and acquisition norms and remove roaming charges burden from consumers. They will also be allowed to retain same number across country.

On Monday, sector regulator TRAI issued recommendations for Unified Licences that will be de-linked from spectrum and issued to all new companies entering sector under NTP 2012.

These guidelines are vital for telecom companies whose licences have been cancelled by Supreme Court in February.

Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar has said that DoT will try and speed up the new licensing regime in less than three months.

Once approved, telecom companies can apply for telecom licences without owning spectrum and can perform businesses that can be carried out without using paid spectrum.

TRAI has recommended one time non-refundable entry fee for Unified Licence shall be Rs 15 crore for National level, Rs 1 crore for each Service area level Unified Licences, except for Jammu and Kashmir and North East Service areas where entry fee will be Rs 50 lakh each.

For each District level Unified Licence, the regulator has requested non-refundable entry fee of Rs 10 lakh.

TRAI said it should be entrusted with the function of issuing unified licences. At present, DoT issues all types of telecom licences.

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