The Minister has chalked out a 15-point agenda for the three-hour long meeting
As the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) gears up to formulate a new telecom policy, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal will hold a brainstorming session with India's top telecom honchos on Tuesday, discussing with them issues related to spectrum, its pricing and sharing.
Mr. Sibal has chalked out a 15-point agenda for the three-hour long meeting, where top priority has been given to the issues related to scarce spectrum, the root cause behind the 2G scam being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Spectrum allocation is a bone of contention among various operators, particularly the old and the new ones.
Soon after taking charge of the Ministry last year, following resignation of A. Raja for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum scam, Mr. Sibal had announced that he would seek the views of stakeholders to frame the new National Telecom Policy 2011, which is a decade old, while the sector has grown multi-fold. It is in this context that Mr. Sibal, who has promised a new policy by next month, has called the meeting. While announcing a 100-day agenda for his Ministry on January 1, 2011, he had promised a clean-up of the sector through major reforms in the policy framework.
Top functionaries of all leading mobile operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices; equipment manufacturers; infrastructure and technology providers; internet service providers and other stakeholders are likely to take part.
Mr. Sibal would discuss de-linking of spectrum from licensing of access services in future. As of now, a 2G licence is entitled to 6.2 MHz of start-up spectrum, but the new Minister has categorically ruled out giving any spectrum with licence in future. He wants all future licences to be brought in the category of unified licences, and in two categories — national and service area level.
In the meeting, the issue of licence fee and spectrum charges will also be debated, as the industry has been demanding rationalisation of the charges which, they allege, are on the higher side. Similarly, sharing of spectrum would also be discussed so that efficient usage of the key resource is ensured and no operator is allowed to hoard it.