The Telecom Commission, the apex decision-making body of the Department of Telecom, is likely to discuss recommendations of the inter-ministerial group aimed at providing relief to the sector next month before they are sent to the Cabinet for final nod.
The Telecom Commission, the apex decision-making body of the Department of Telecom, is likely to discuss recommendations of the inter-ministerial group aimed at providing relief to the sector next month before they are sent to the Cabinet for final nod, a senior official said. “The IMG recommendations will be placed before the Telecom Commission again along with legal opinion and TRAI’s recommendations on spectrum cap,” a DoT official, who did not wished to be named, told PTI. The Telecom Commission (TC) had in principle approved extension of time period for the payment of spectrum bought in auctions by telcos to 16 years from the current 10 years as recommended by the inter-ministerial group (IMG). The commission also approved recommendation of the IMG — tasked with finding solutions for the financial difficulties of the telecom sector — to lower interest rate charged over penalties imposed on service providers with slight modifications.
The TC had sought legal opinion on some of the points it approved at its previous meeting in September-end before firming up its view. The panel has also sought views of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on IMG’s proposal to relax spectrum cap as it will provide exit path to loss-making mobile service providers and ease consolidation in the sector. Sources said all telecom operators, except Bharti Airtel, have favoured change in spectrum cap. “The dates for TC meeting has not been finalised yet but it is likely to be held in December,” the official said.
The official added that some IMG recommendations like reduction in various levies on the telecom sector are being considered under the new National Telecom Policy. “The draft of the new national telecom policy is on track and it will be placed in public domain for comments in December,” the officer said. Another official said the DoT has received legal opinion on IMG recommendations from the Law Ministry which will be placed before the commission.