News From Telecom World

India amends 3G, WiMax policies

Posted on: September 15, 2008

India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) amended its 3G policy to allow successful foreign bidders to acquire Indian operators without waiting for the mandatory three years.

Another key change in the policy is that CDMA operators will be allotted 3G spectrum through auction.

DoT has also retained an earlier clause that besides the existing licence holders only those telcos with experience in providing 3G services can bid for the spectrum.

DoT also amended the broadband wireless access (which includes WiMax services) policy to double the base price for WiMax spectrum and allow successful bidders to offer both data and voice services.

While announcing that the 3G spectrum for CDMA operators in the 450 MHz and 1,900 MHz bands would be allotted through auction, DoT said the reserve price for such frequencies would be notified separately. The department also shied away from specifying the licence renewal fee for existing telcos.

The licences of existing telcos would be extended “in a manner as the government deems fit”, it said. Again, while saying telcos must share 1% of their incremental revenues from 3G services as spectrum usage charges, DoT added that the method of calculating this fee would be spelt out later.

DoT in its new 3G policy has said that the existing merger norms will apply only to existing licence holders. This implies that foreign telcos, which are successful in their 3G bids, can now buy an existing licence holder without having to wait for three years, the lock-in period specified earlier.

© 2008 The Economic Times

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