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DoT draws up ambitious blueprint for sector

Last updated on: February 23, 2011 11:01 IST

DoT draws up ambitious blueprint for sector

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Mansi Taneja & Surajeet Das Gupta in New Delhi

The department of telecommunications (DoT) has drawn up a draft strategic plan that includes spectrum sharing by operators, introduction of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), setting up a committee to review the use of spectrum and a uniform licence fee across services.

Many of these initiatives may be part of the New Telecom Policy, 2011.

In the draft note, DoT has also fixed deadlines to achieve various targets.

For instance, it wants to achieve vacation of spectrum and introduction of MVNOs by December this year. Spectrum sharing and a uniform license fee is sought to be introduced by June.

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Spectrum sharing is currently not allowed. MVNOs, which use the spectrum and infrastructure of existing operators, is not permitted and even though there have been several discussions on this for quite some time, DoT has not taken a final decision.

On better utilisation of scarce spectrum, DoT believes that spectrum management review should take into account the global trend of licence-exempt allocations.

A different approach will be needed for various parts of spectrum that have high commercial or developmental potential such as mobile broadband.

The review should also examine the terms and conditions of the government's use of spectrum, development of a framework for using white spaces and a spectrum audit process.

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A spectrum committee, comprising officials from the wireless planning & coordination wing and other stakeholders should be formed, DoT said. It should be reviewed at least once every three years, it added.

DoT also emphasised the need for transparency in licensing norms and procedures to help promote investment, consolidation and increased efficiency.

A uniform licence fee regime across telecom circles is also a long overdue reform, which will address issues related to creating a level playing field.

As part of licensing reforms, DoT suggested a more convergent licensing framework with service and technology neutrality.

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Besides, Internet telephony and MVNOs should be introduced to give mobile consumers greater choice.

To promote mobile services in rural areas, DoT has chalked a plan to increase adoption. According to the draft, a target of 50 per cent rural teledensity in the next five years and broadband coverage of all villages has been set.

It also aims to achieve 100 per cent data coverage of all villages.

In future, most services will require convergence of many services, which makes it essential for government departments such as information technology, broadcasting and telecom to develop a comprehensive regulatory policy.

DoT said the terms and conditions related to national long-distance and international long-distance licences should be revised to allow for more efficient telecom services.


Photographs: Reuters
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