Gov unwraps new telecom policy for industry

The government of India on Tuesday gave the industry a glimpse of what is in store under its ‘New Telecom Policy’ of 2011.

According to people who were present in a round table conference organized on Tuesday, telecom minister Sibal reiterated that he will indeed carry out all the reforms he had promised when he took over last last year.

Government has already announced the most controversial aspect of the new policy — of charging heavily for spectrum and not giving it free as it used to.

In the round table, it also said that it will put all communication licenses, including those for ISPs, long distance providers and other point-to-point service providers, at par with traditional operators.

The move will make them eligible to start their own mobile networks using their existing infrastructure such as cables and connectivity, provided they are willing to enter the spectrum auctions.

It will also put the revenue share and spectrum charges, currently varying between 2-8%, at a single figure for all such providers.

The telecom operators were not able to come up with a united suggestion on how to price spectrum. TRAI had suggested auction as the best method, followed by a charted fall-back price strategy.

But traditional operators such as Airtel and Vodafone attacked the regulator’s suggestions while newer operators and CDMA providers spoke favorably of them.