Telecom minister Kapil Sibal today announced a complete shift in the government's policy on telecom spectrum, saying that allocation of spectrum in future would be independent of telecom licences.
He said, given the current level of competition and availability of spectrum, the time has come to review the need to allocate spectrum bundled with the licence at a fixed fee.
"We believe that the stage has been reached where there is enough of competition to warrant a market driven process for allocation of 2G spectrum," he said.
He said the aim of the government is to ensure adequate availability of spectrum for telecom services. In this regard, the minister said, the government would seek a plan of action from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
"Our aim is to make available adequate spectrum to meet the entire requirement of the telecom sector, with due regard to the requirements of other sensitive sectors while at the same time ensuring that there are adequate measures in place to ensure that operators use allocated spectrum efficiently and optimally," Sibal said.
Referring to the debate on the earlier policy of spectrum allocation, the minister said the bundling of spectrum with assignment of licences in 2008 was done on the basis of the then existing policy and the recommendations received by the government.