Late last week, we carried reports about the Telecom sector in India being on the threshold of a major change, in the form of a new Telecom policy, which was scheduled to be declared today. Sure enough, amidst expectations of a better and a stronger telecom structure in the country, especially in the wake of the scandals it was riddled by a year back costing it a massive $39 billion dent, Communications minister, Kapil Sibal announced its New Telecom Policy (NTP 2011), including – five path-breaking objectives and many minor ones. 

Heralding a new dawn (Image credit: Getty Images)

Heralding a new dawn (Image credit: Getty Images)

According to a FirstPost report, here’s a low down on the detailed New Telecom Policy 2011:

  • Broadband on demand
  • One-nation-one licence policy
  • Separation of telecom network operations from service delivery
  • Sale of spectrum at market-determined prices
  • who are unable to fit in.

Now, what do these objectives mean? In a broader sense, the telecom structure would get a major facelift. Let’s decode this for you.

In the New Telecom Policy 2011 a proposal for separating the network operation procedure from that of service delivery has been put forth. In simple terms, while earlier a network operator furthered his own services, i.e. both operating a network and delivering the service with a single licence; the new NTP ruling will mean the need to have separate licences for each of these activities, thus drawing clear demarcations. The NTP ruling, also adds to it by saying that the same operator can hold two separate licences for the two separate heads of services mentioned above. 

Another path-breaking objective that the NTP 2011 has thrown light on is the ‘One-nation-one licence policy’ ruling. According to this, the concept of Mobile Number Portability, which took the nation by storm by its might, but was limited by applicability, is now national. Simply put, it is now possible to carry one’s existing number to any part of the country without having to pay any roaming charges. Roaming charges will be abolished as per the National Telecom Policy 2011. While this would hit the revenues of the operators at the outset, the lawmakers believe that as the business picks up, the structure of the profit – loss will even out. 

The NTP 2011 has also provisioned for a new Spectrum Act. Under this act, those who receive spectrum will be able to pool, share, or trade them. Most importantly, in order to curb any wastage or hoarding of allotted spectrum, the ministry will carry out periodic audits. Additionally the NTP 2011 talks about separating spectrums from licences. A certain amount of spectrum, till now came free with the licences to the operators. Those seeking additional spectrum would then pay for the required amount, accordingly. Now, however, NTP 2011 will ensure all spectrum will be bought at market-determined prices. 

Lastly, easing a crowded player market is the 'orderly exit of operators', thereby introducing an exit policy in the entire structure. 

The report further revealed the government, led by Sibal aimed at taking broadband connections in the country to 175 million by 2017, and to 600 million by 2020.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,