Telecom Commission meet likely on Feb 18 on new licences

Telecom Commission meet likely on Feb 18 on new licences New Delhi: Inter-ministerial body Telecom Commission (TC) is likely to meet on February 18 to discuss guidelines of new licences that will be issued to companies under the National Telecom Policy 2012.

A senior Department of Telecommunications official told PTI that the TC will 'probably' meet on February 18 to discuss details of Unified Licences for both new and existing players.

The government under new telecom policy has announced that all new licences in future will be de-linked from spectrum and will be technology neutral.

There are various issues related to the new licences guidelines like provision to allow opening of internet telephony (allowing calls using internet on phones), Foreign Direct Investment in telecom tower firms, recommendation made by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to cancel licences on 5th major violation, that the panel will have to look in to.

As per broad framework issued by DoT earlier, a new pan-India licence that has been delinked from spectrum will cost Rs 22 crore compared to earlier price of Rs 1,658 crore that were issued along with 4.4 megahertz of airwaves frequency.

The DoT in the notice inviting applications for spectrum auction in 2012 has said that "Entry fee (non-refundable) Rs 1 crore for each Service Area Level UL (Access Services) except for Jammu and Kashmir and North East Service Areas where Entry Fee shall be Rs 50 lakh each."

The companies will have to pay separately for spectrum which at present is over 7 times more that of previous price.

Holders of new licences, Unified Licences, who have received spectrum at new rates, determined through spectrum auction in 2012 and to be allocated thereafter, will be allowed to share spectrum with their counterparts.

Spectrum sharing was not permitted under old telecom licences that are in use by existing telecom operators.

PTI