The government has got down to the job of framing the new telecom policy and a draft one should be ready by the end of December, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said. "Working groups to draft the policy are being set up as we speak," she said. The Department of Telecom (DoT) last week kick started the consultation process by meeting operators, infrastructure providers, industry associations and standards bodies. The department is in the middle of formulating a National Telecom Policy that will focus on areas such as Internet for all, next-generation technologies (like 5G and Internet of Things), skill development and security, among others. DoT plans to go for a wide consultation and outreach before finalising the new policy and expects to have it in place by March 2018. The new policy formulation comes at a time when the sector is saddled with financial difficulties.
Revenue and profitability of both large and small operators have come under severe pressure after the entry of aggressive newcomer Reliance Jio and the subsequent free data and voice offerings. The National Telecom Policy, 2012, had taken key steps such as full mobile number portability, liberalisation of spectrum, and allowing delinking of spectrum from licence, among others. The department will soon write to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India seeking inputs for the new telecom policy, she added.
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