The department of telecommunications (DoT) will send notices for cancellation of 35 licences to telecom firms by the end of this financial year for not meeting roll-out obligations.
“The process of issuing notices to 35 licences for missing out roll-out obligations will be completed by March,” said R Chandrashekhar, secretary, DoT on Friday.
All the telecom licences come with roll out obligations. The operators have to cover at least 10% of the district headquarters within one year of getting licences.
This increases in subsequent years. There is a provision of penalty in case roll out obligations are not met.
In case, the operators do not meet obligations even after the financial penalties are imposed on them, then the government can cancel their licences. Earlier, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had asked the DoT to cancel about 65 licences issued in January 2008 as the operators failed to meet the roll out criteria.
The secretary also said that the New Telecom Policy (NTP) is likely to be announced in January. Telecom service providers are waiting for the NTP as it would clarify the merger and acquisition (M&A) rules.
Currently, there is hyper competition in the domestic market and there are between 12 and 13 players in some of the circles. The NTP is also expected to delink licences form spectrum. There may be a fixed price for licences, while spectrum will be available at market price.