Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Apr 13, 2003
Info-Tech - Regulatory Bodies & Rulings
DoT moots universal licence regime `Only spectrum usage charges for companies'
NEW DELHI, April 12
THE Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has mooted the idea of a "universal" licence for all the different telecom services - basic, cellular and long-distance - with companies having to pay only spectrum usage charges, as is the norm in most developed countries.
According to highly-placed officials, the different licence terms and conditions that exist at present for all different telecom services has only led to litigations that have stalled the growth of this sector.
It is, therefore, felt that a single licence will suffice where all the different operators will be on a level playing field. Since spectrum is scarce, they will continue to have to pay for occupying the frequency at rates set by DoT.
"Although the proposal has been mooted off and on, the DoT is now slowly moving towards such a scenario and has already mandated two experts to study the proposals and come up with various suggestions. They will also be suggesting policy measures that will be necessary for the transitional phase before a universal licence regime is implemented", they said.
The officials noted that the experts would also be providing a comprehensive report on the whole telecom sector, with prospects of different companies over the next six months.
All the probable mergers and acquisitions that will take place will also be listed with the likely impact on financial institutions and the telecom sector as a whole, they said.
They noted that DoT has, meanwhile, decided to stop interfering in the functioning of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and let the professional boards of both the PSUs to take appropriate decisions, as demanded by the market.
Also, as many as six reports on the proposed merger between both the companies are due to be submitted to the DoT in the next couple of weeks.
HSBC has already proposed that instead of merging the two companies, a cross-holding between both the PSUs can be considered, followed by a segregation of different services divisions basic, cellular and long distance into separate companies.
A final decision will be taken after all the reports have been submitted, they noted.
Defending the DoT position on not to make public all files relating to limited mobility as sought by the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), the source stated that the Supreme Court would be approached on Monday against this order.
"The DoT has no objection to showing the files to the TDSAT, but is against making them public. It does not want to set a precedent, as tomorrow, anyone can make allegations and demand that Government files be made public. This is also not allowed for the Freedom for Information Act", they said.
Stories in this Section
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of
The Hindu Business Line