DoT asks Law Ministry to examine policy proposals

5 Jan 2012

In a move that looks likely to delay the final unveiling of India’s new telecom policy, local news source the Economic Times reports that Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sought the opinion of the Ministry of Law and Justice regarding a number of its proposals. It is thought that the decision to seek legal advice regarding the in-development policy comes amid concerns that the regulator could face litigation over some of the new directives from mobile network operators. A total of 11 issues related to spectrum pricing are understood to have been sent to the law ministry for examination.

Such worries may be well founded; with the Telecom Commission, the DoT’s apex decision making body, having signed off on several policy changes related to spectrum pricing, including the introduction of a one-time fee on incumbents holding ‘excess’ spectrum, Vodafone Essar claimed that such a move would be ‘legally untenable’.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, it was expected that the new telecom policy would be formally unveiled this month, but following this latest development it is now claimed that it may not see the light of day until the second half of 2012. Among the new proposals included in the policy are: a further easing of regulation governing M&A activity; the release of 300MHz of additional spectrum in 2017 and a further 200MHz in 2020; and forcing operators to provide roaming between the country’s telecoms ‘circles’.