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Telecom honchos to meet Sibal on Tuesday

January 24, 2012 13:07 IST

Telecom honchos Sunil Bharti Mittal, Anil Ambani, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Vittorio Colao are expected to meet IT and Communications Minister Kapil Sibal tomorrow to discuss various issues impacting the sector.

These range from the one-time charge on telcos for holding excess spectrum, mergers and acquisition (M&A) norms and 3G roaming agreements. The meeting comes less than two months after telecom operators' chiefs met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sibal and other ministers.

The department of telecommunications (DoT) is set to announce a new policy by June, besides a policy framework for M&A, spectrum charges, allocation and others. The Telecom Commission, its highest decision-making body, has already sent final recommendations on the pricing of spectrum and other recommendations to Sibal for a final call. The matter will

then go to the Cabinet.

DoT is contemplating a one-time fee on operators for holding spectrum beyond 4.4MHz and a charge on excess spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz with retrospective effect, secretary R Chandrashekhar had said. Adding, the government would prefer holding auctions when seeking spectrum prices in future.

The telecom industry is opposing the government's move to charge a one-time fee on spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz for GSM operators and 2.5 MHz for CDMA players. If the fee is levied, the operators could be by poorer by Rs 17,000 crore (Rs 170 billion).

The 3G roaming agreements between Bharti, Vodafone and Idea is also a big issue. DoT, which had declared such agreements illegal, had asked operators to immediately stop providing 3G services.

But, the operators had moved telecom tribunal TDSAT, challenging DoT's order. TDSAT had stayed the order and the matter is pending. DoT is contemplating moving the Supreme Court over 3G roaming.

BS Reporter in New Delhi
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