Sibal delinks spectrum from licences; new telecom policy soon

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI) In a major shift in spectrumallocation policy, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal todayannounced that henceforth no licence would be issued bundledwith spectrum and also the operators would have to pay amarket price for an additional spectrum.

He also said that for new operators the contractedamount of spectrum would be 4.4 Mhz and for the incumbentplayers like Bharti, Vodafone and Idea the limit would be 6.2Mhz.

"In future, the spectrum will not be bundled withlicence. The licence to be issued to telecom operators will bein the nature of ''Unified Licence'' and the licence holder willbe free to offer any of the multifarious telecom services.

"In the event, the licence holder would like to offerwireless services, it will have to obtain spectrum through amarket driven process," the minister said.

This means the new operators, if their licences are heldvalid, would have to pay a market price for the additional 1.8Mhz of 2G spectrum and this may make their operationsfinancially unviable.

While for the old operators, who are holding spectrumbeyond 6.2 Mhz would have to pay market driven price for theextra airwaves.

These changes would be implemented with immediateeffect, Sibal said.

"We need to seriously consider the adoption of an auctionprocess for allocation and pricing of spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhzwhile ensuring that there is adequate competition in theauction process," Sibal told reporters here.

He also announced that there would be a uniform rate ofrevenue share to be paid by the operators as spectrum chargeto the government as part of level playing field for allplayers.

These changes would be part of new telecom policy beingframed by the Department of Telecom.

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