New Delhi: The Telecom Ministry will soon approach the Cabinet for approval for the National Telecom Policy, 2011 which proposes to do away with national roaming charges and introduce nation-wide mobile number portability.
"We will try to get the Cabinet permission this year and start implementing the policy from as early as next year," Communication and IT Minister Kapil Sibal told Economic Editors Conference here.
To a question on when subscribers will get free roaming, he said the policy would be implemented within the tenure of UPA-2 but did not give an exact time-line.
On auctioning of spectrum, as desired by the Finance Ministry to reduce the fiscal deficit, Sibal said, "There is a lot of hope generated in the telecom sector... Telecom sector will bring lot of succour to the economy. So, I think, the Finance Minister will be happy."
He, however, said no time-line has been fixed for auction of spectrum. "Whether it will be in January, 2012 or after March 2012 it cannot be said," Sibal added.
On the issue of roaming agreements among leading telecom operators for offering 3G mobile service, he said, "The DoT is looking into the matter very minutely... will have to look at the provisions in the contractual agreement."
Operators have entered into agreement with each other to offer full fledged 3G services in some circles without having a licence. The matter has been reported to telecom regulator TRAI and DoT.
Sibal, however, said that in the long run, the DoT is looking at allowing sharing of spectrum.
Asked whether all operators would be asked to migrate to the NTP 2011, the Minister said "...migration will be allowed in consultation with the TRAI and all stakeholders."
Since there is going to be convergence of technologies, one-nation-one-licence concept, migration will have to happen after the NTP 2011 come into affect, he said.
On the issue of state-run BSNL's offer to surrender Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum in several circles in view of mounting losses, the Minister said that he would soon discuss the proposal within the DoT and take a decision.
The PSU has offered to surrender its BWA spectrum in 17 circles, seeking refund of Rs 8,313.80 crore.
According to sources, it wants to retain only Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana service areas.
Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 04:51 AM