Union Minister Manoj Sinha on Tuesday said the new telecom policy is almost ready and will be brought in the next session of Parliament after a Cabinet nod. “The new telecom policy is almost ready, and, this month, we will place it on the Department’s website for public comments. We will bring it in the next session of Parliament,” said Sinha on the sidelines of ‘Deendayal SPARSH Yojana’ award ceremony. He said the recent Cabinet nod to the telecom relief package – that entails giving more time to companies to pay for the spectrum they bought as well as liberalised spectrum caps – will ensure that the historic success of the sector continues unabated.
“The telecom sector has enjoyed a successful history and this will ensure that the success continues and that India continues to get good connectivity,” the telecom minister said. Telecom companies will have an “option” to either go for the new payment schedule for spectrum or continue under the existing arrangement, he noted. Earlier this month, the Cabinet allowed telcos to pay for spectrum over 16 years instead of 10 years and permitted them to hold more airwaves, in a bid to provide relief to the financially-stressed sector.
It relaxed caps on holding spectrum, helping ongoing mergers like that between Vodafone and Idea as the combined entity would have breached the current limits in certain circles or telecom zones. In line with the Cabinet decision, Department of Telecom (DoT) on Monday amended licence norms of service providers to increase number of instalments for spectrum payments and radio waves frequency holding limit.