New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has floated a consultation paper seeking stakeholder comments by 19 January on the structure and contents of the proposed National Telecom Policy 2018, which the government aims to finalize by March.
In the consultation paper released on Trai’s website on Wednesday, the regulator has sought views outlining the specifics, along with justification, for the proposed policy.
This comes after the Department of Telecommunications’ letter in August seeking inputs from the regulator after which Trai met telecom operators, equipment makers, industry associations, information technology companies, content providers, broadcasting and cable services companies to discuss objectives and strategies for the new policy.
The government, which aims to implement the new policy for the telecom sector by the end of this financial year, plans to make the new policy application-driven as compared to the previous one which was connectivity-driven, telecom minister Manoj Sinha said in July.
The 2012 Telecom Policy had taken steps such as full mobile number portability, liberalization of spectrum, and allowing delinking of spectrum from licence, among others.
The telecom department has set up multiple working groups to work on the broad themes of the new policy which would focus on reviewing regulatory and licensing frameworks impacting the telecom sector, connectivity-for-all, quality of services, ease of doing business, and absorption of new technologies including 5G and Internet of Things or IoT.
For the roll-out of 5G, the government formed a panel in September to devise strategies for early deployment of the technology in India. The panel, which has representations from the industry, government and academia, aims to develop a competitive product portfolio for 5G with an objective of targeting 50% of the Indian market and 10% of global market over the next seven years.
5G is the next generation wireless access technology. It not only promises higher data capacity and speeds faster than 10GB per second but also possesses the capacity to connect billions of devices. According to industry estimates, 5G will also bring down the cost of transmitting packets of data on the network to one-tenth of that on a 4G network. The technology is also expected to trigger progress across usages such as autonomous cars, apart from IoT.
According to an Economic Times report, the GSM Association, which represents the interests of carriers globally, expects the telecom department to reduce the multiple taxes and levies including the Universal Service Obligation Fund levy in its new telecom policy, besides rolling out a spectrum sale road map.