New Delhi: The government is planning to come up with guidelines based on which the telecom operators will be allowed to continue using the spectrum after the expiry of their licence period, reports PTI.
Telecom operators are given licences by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to offer services for 20 years. At present, there are no clear guidelines governing the renewal of licences.
DoT says on its website, "The licence for Unified Access Services (UAS) is issued on non-exclusive basis, for a period of 20 years, extendable by 10 years at one time within the territorial jurisdiction of a licensed service area."
However, there is no mention of criteria based on which the licences could be renewed.
According to sources, the government is planning to come up with a new policy for renewal of licences.
The second generation (2G) airwaves licences of most of the incumbents including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and others will expire between 2014 and 2021.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recently proposed that the operators should be asked to pay a renewal fee if they want to continue to offer services at the end of the licence period, that is 20 years.
Bharti and Vodafone had taken some of their licences in 1994-95 which means that they would have to pay a hefty amount in the next four years.
Earlier, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular had moved TDSAT against TRAI recommendations on 2G spectrum but later on withdrew the case.
Sources said this (proposed policy) is likely to help the licensees to take a business decision. Based on this, the operators can also decide whether to continue or exit the sector.