India today unveiled part of a new telecommunications policy, separating licences from bandwidth and easing rules for mergers and acquisition, apart from delinking of spectrum from licences. The government is expected to finalise a telecom policy by April this year.
''No more Universal Access Service licences linked with spectrum will be awarded,'' minister for communications and information technology Kapil Sibal said at a press conference today.
''All future licences will be unified licences and allocation of spectrum will be delinked from the licences. Spectrum, if required, will have to be obtained separately. A final view on implementation of the unified licence regime would be taken after receipt of detailed guidelines and terms and conditions from TRAI for unified licences, including migration path for all existing licences to unified licences,'' he said.
Sibal said the Telecom Commission has considered telecom regulator TRAI's recommendations on `Spectrum Management and Licensing Framework' for arriving at these decisions.
The government will allocate telecom service providers higher spectrum of up to 10 MHz, in order to enable them to provide quality services, Sibal said, adding, the prescribed limit on spectrum assigned to a service provider will be 2x8 MHz (paired spectrum) for GSM technology for all service areas other than Delhi and Mumbai where it will be 2x10 MHz (paired spectrum).
Current prescribed limit is 6.2 MHz of GSM spectrum.