Licenses will be delinked from spectrum in new telecom policy: Sibal

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (ANI): Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology Kapil Sibal on Saturday announced a new policy that marks a 'directional shift' from previous dispensations by delinking spectrum allocation with licensing.

"We think that there needs to be a directional shift away from the old policy. Previously, the license was bundled with the spectrum. We are going to de-link license from the spectrum in the new dispensation. Henceforth, spectrum would be awarded apart from de-linking, on a market-based pricing mechanism," said Sibal.

Revealing the nuances of the new policy, Sibal said that though adequate spectrum would be granted to operators, the requirements of sensitive sectors such as defence would also be taken into account in the allocation of licenses.

"We must also ensure there is adequate spectrum to go around. We have also decided to provide adequate spectrum to the operators. We would be seeking a plan of action from the regulator on this regard very soon," said Sibal.

"The entire requirement of the entire telecom sector would be seen, and how that spectrum is to be obtained would be looked at with due regard to the sensitive sectors, like defence and others," he added.

Sibal further said the new policy would balance cheap tariffs, operator profitability and government revenue.

"Now, the license that will be issued to the telecom operators will be in the nature of a unified license. The license-holder would be free to offer any of the multifarious telecom services," said Sibal.

"If the licensee wants to offer wireless service, he will have to go through a market-driven process, no contractual spectrum anymore, no concept of additional or startup spectrum anymore," he added.

Sibal also clarified that all operators who wish to change from 2G technology, available at 4.2 megahertz, to 3G technology, available at 6.2 megahertz, would also be granted licenses at market-driven rates.

Sibal, who took over as Communication and Information Technology Minister last month after A. Raja was forced to resign following charges of financial irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum licenses, further said the process would start in the next 100 days, but did not elaborate on the issue. (ANI)

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