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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Telecom Minister kicks off new year with new promises

The government will evolve a new telecom policy which takes care of the interests of the common man, the government and the telecom service providers, and will include a clear regime on contentious issues like spectrum allocation, Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal said Saturday.

"In the ultimate analysis, we want efficient use of spectrum, and optimal use of spectrum. We want revenues to be generated," Sibal told reporters, while unveiling a 100-day agenda of his ministry with regards to all three departments - telecom, post offices and information technology.

"So in the next 100 days, we will hold consultations with key stakeholders to evolve a clear and transparent regime covering licensing, spectrum allocation, tariff, pricing, linkage with rollout performance, flexibility within licences, spectrum sharing, spectrum trading and mergers and acquisitions in a technology-agnostic environment," the minister added.

According to the minister, the revamped policy will usher in an era of transparency in all dealings with regards to precious resources like spectrum.

"The new policy would also take care of use of foreign equipment by telecom service providers while extending services using the third-generation spectrum.

"When we do all this, we will do this in the interest of the aam admi (common man). There are three public interests here - how do we get reasonable revenues for the government, the consumer must get the service at a reasonably low rate, while we keep the industry robust," Sibal said.

The minister also said that all pending security issues with regards to foreign equipment suppliers will be resolved in the next 100 days, which would allow operators "to launch their 3G services in their entire plenitude without delay".

"Security issues regarding telecom equipment procurement, messenger services and subscriber verification will be resolved in the next 100 days," Sibal said.

Sibal said that his ministry would start a dialogue with the department of space, ministry of defence and public sector companies to free up spectrum and make it available for the telecom sector.

"We will also rollout the national frequency plan 2011 in the next 100 days," he said

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