New Delhi, Feb 15: In a major advantage to old GSM operators, the government today said all service providers would be allowed to hold higher spectrum of up to 10 MHz, a move that would help them offer quality services.
Announcing a part of the New Telecom Policy, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told a press conference that “the prescribed limit on spectrum assigned to a service provider will be 2x8 MHz (paired spectrum) for GSM technology for all service areas other than Delhi and Mumbai where it will be 2x10 MHz (paired spectrum).”
Current prescribed limit is 6.2 MHz of GSM spectrum. However, players would be free to acquire additional frequency beyond the prescribed limit, in the open market, should there be an auction of spectrum subject to the limits prescribed for merger of licences.
Old GSM operators are supposed to pay one-time charge for extra spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz but it was not clear whether now one-time charge would be beyond the new prescribed limit or not.
All spectrum would be delinked from the licence from now, he said, adding that a decision on pricing of spectrum or one-time charge for extra spectrum held by some incumbent operatros would be taken later in view of the Supreme Court judgement that cancelled 122 2G licences issued in 2008.
When asked about the impact of new norms announced today on subscribers, he said users should get better services and at affordable rates due to more efficient usage of spectrum.
He also announced a uniform licence fee of eight per cent of Adjusted Gross Revenue across services and circles as compared to range of 6-8 per cent now. Licence fee is a levy paid by all operators as the annual fee.
On renewal of licenses, Sibal said the renewal of licence would be done for 10 years.
“It will not be an automatic continuance of the existing licence condition, including the quantum and the price of spectrum to be allocated, but the certainity is there that licence will be renewed for a period of 10 years,” he said.