2G allocation: DoT to seek more time
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 13, 2009
Thomas K Thomas in The Hindu Business Line on June 13, 2009
New Delhi, June 12 The Department of Telecom will seek more time from the telecom tribunal to decide on the policy for allocating 2G spectrum for mobile operators.
The deadline to decide on the policy is today, according to a judgment given by the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal in its order of March 31, 2008.
The tribunal had asked the DoT to finalise the policy one month after the spectrum committee submits its report. Since the spectrum panel submitted its proposals on May 13, the DoT would have to take its final decision by June 13, according to the directions of the TDSAT. The DoT had, therefore, put on hold fresh allocation of spectrum till the policy was finalised.
However, the DoT has taken a view that it needed more time to review the recommendations of the committee, which mooted sweeping changes in the way spectrum is allocated.
Differences over policy
There are differences between the spectrum panel and the Communications Ministry on the policy. While the panel suggested giving spectrum through an open auction, the Telecom Ministry is in favour of continuing with the existing subscriber-linked criteria. “Since it is not possible to take a final decision with one month in view of wide ranging implications and report being reformist in nature we may request TDSAT to grant more time for Government decision on the report,” said a top DoT source.
The DoT also plans to consult the telecom regulator before it takes a final view on the allocation procedure. Earlier, top Ministry sources had told Business Line that the panel’s report may not be acceptable since it will disturb the level playing field in the mobile segment between new and old players.
DoT sources said it will decide on spectrum allocation criteria within six weeks. This means that operators such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications, which have sought additional spectrum in some of the circles, will have to wait till then.