India plans spectrum policy update
India's new communications minister will formulate a new spectrum policy within 100 days to address a 2G license allocation scandal.
Kapil Sibal aims to develop a comprehensive new policy covering spectrum licensing, allocation and sharing that balances the Indian government’s need to collect reasonable revenues with requirements to provide affordable services for users and for the sector to grow.
Sibal promised to develop the regime based on input from stakeholders, and said he would aim to make it as transparent and clear as possible, the Economic Times reported.
The department of telecom (DoT) is under pressure to reform spectrum practices in response to the 2G licensing scandal of last year. The controversy arose when it emerged that Sibal's predecessor Andimuthu Raja had allocated licenses in 2008 at 2001 prices in a decision that could have cost the government up to $38 billion (€28.5 billion).
The proposed new telecom policy would also include an overhaul of rollout obligations for spectrum holders, in what is likely a response to the DoT's claims that many of the winners of the 2008 auction have not met the minimum network coverage requirements.
India’s DoT has collected 73.7 million rupees (€1.2 million) of around 2.19 billion rupees-worth of fines issued to carriers over coverage targets, including Etisalat DB, Loop Telecom, Uninor, Sistema Shyam and Aircel, the Times said.