No decision taken on telecom M&A, spectrum pricing

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SummaryThe Telecom Commission today failed to take any decision on sector regulator Trai's recommendations on mergers and acquisitions and spectrum pricing and is likely to meet again on December 1.

The Telecom Commission today failed to take any decision on sector regulator Trai's recommendations on mergers and acquisitions and spectrum pricing and is likely to meet again on December 1.

"The issues discussed today include M&A, spectrum pricing and priority of allocation of spectrum. No final decision has been taken and the TC will again meet on December 1 for half a day," Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar told reporters here.

If things don't conclude that day, another meet will be called in a day or two for final decision, he added.

The Telecom Ministry is likely to finalise the National Telecom Policy, 2011 and all all these issues have to be resolved prior to that for their inclusion in the policy.

Earlier this month, Trai had sent its recommendation to DoT, which had sought clarifications from the regulator, before finalising the NTP 2011.

While standing by its recommendation of over six-fold jump in the 2G spectrum price, Trai had the left the decision for levying a one-time charge for additional spectrum beyond the contracted limit of 6.2 Mhz to the government.

Trai had recommended that each Mhz of additional spectrum, after the 6.2 MHz limit held by operators, should have one-time cost of Rs 4,571.87 crore for all of India.

However, from circle to circle, it would vary and the operators would have to pay only for those areas where they hold extra spectrum. It had also suggested delinking spectrum from licences.

To ensure a level-playing field among operators, Trai had recommended that if an entity, post a merger or acquisition, has up to 35 per cent market share, it would be considered in 'green line' or safe harbour.

Entities with market share above 35 per cent but less than 60 per cent, post M&As, would be referred to Trai for its recommendation, which would carry out a detailed examination to ensure that there is no abuse of market dominance.

On the issue of levy of penalties, Chandrasekhar said the norms regulating the same would be in a place in a month's time.

"We have formed a committee which is looking into the issue. Ww are trying to do it as

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