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Sibal delinks 2G spectrum from license, pricing to be market driven

New Delhi: Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday announced that from henceforth, the allocation of 2G spectrum would be delinked from license. Sibal also announced putting into place a market-based pricing mechanism, adding spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz would be charged at a price determined from 3G auction.

These changes would be implemented with immediate effect, the minister told a press conference.

According to Sibal, the measures would be part of the New Telecom Policy, 2011 being formulated by the Department of Telecom (DoT).

“In future, the spectrum will not be bundled with license. The license to be issued to telecom operators will be in the nature of Unified License and the license holder will be free to offer any of the multifarious telecom services, the minister said.

Earlier, the cut-off level for charging for spectrum was 4.2 MHz. Further details of charging will be fixed after TRAI submits its report on the matter to the DoT. The timeframe for charging will have retrospective effect from 2008, to three calendar years henceforth.

Further, Sibal said that his ministry was looking into releasing more 2G spectrum, after consultation with the Defence Ministry.

The minister had promised 100 days to formulate and implement a new and comprehensive National Telecom Policy earlier this month. But according to sources, it will be implemented by the end of this quarter.

The New Telecom Policy, 2011 is being formulated following the scam surrounding the arbitrary allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008 at 2001 prices. Kapil Sibal had taken over the ministry after tainted telecom minister A Raja resigned.

The present telecom policy is being formulated on DoT’s recommendation to the ministry which was based on the three basic guiding principles namely reasonable revenue for the government, affordable services for users and robust growth of the sector.

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