The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) wants to reverse its existing policy of allowing an unlimited number of players in the so-called 2G mobile services based on GSM and CDMA technologies.
The department has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to review the existing policy and cap the number of mobile operators in a circle. Boundaries of a telecom circle generally coincide with state boundaries.
Currently, the government has issued about 10 licences in each circle. Most new operators have not even launched services in most of the circles.
“In view of the fact that sufficient competition seems to be already in place and spectrum is a scarce resource and to ensure that the adequate quantity of spectrum is available to the licencees to enable them to expand their services and maintain the quality of service, the government is to take a view on the policy of no capping on the number of access service providers in each service area in terms of pending applications for grant of new UAS licences received from 26.09.2007 to 01.10.2007,” DoT said in its letter to the TRAI.
Under the current policy, licences are issued on first-come-first-served basis, with no cap on number of operators. TRAI has pointed out that 343 applications for new licences are still pending with DoT.