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New telecom policy seeks to remove roaming charges

New Delhi : The cabinet Thursday approved a new telecom policy that seeks to do away with roaming charges across the country and simplifies the licencing policy, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said Thursday.

“Affordability of the consumers is the core of our policy,” Sibal told reporters after a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Sibal said the new policy aims at free roaming facility throughout the country.

The minister said the new policy seeks to provide a predictable and stable policy regime for a period of nearly 10 years.

The new policy called National Telecom Policy-2012 will replace more than a decade old legislation.

“The policy envisions providing secure, reliable, affordable and high quality converged telecommunication services anytime, anywhere for an accelerated inclusive socio-economic development.” according to an official statement released after the cabinet meeting.

“The main thrust of the Policy is on the multiplier effect and transformational impact of such services on the overall economy,” the statement said.

The policy will be operationalised by bringing out detailed guidelines, as may be considered appropriate, from time to time.

It will enable smooth implementation of the policies for providing an efficient telecommunication infrastructure taking into account the primary objective of maximising public good by empowering the people of India, the statement said.

“The policy will further enable taking suitable facilitatory measures to encourage existing service providers to rapidly migrate to the new regime in a uniformly liberalised environment with a level playing field,” it said.

The union cabinet also approved introduction of unified licence and authorised the Department of Telecommunications to finalise the new unified licensing regime with the approval of minister of communications and IT.

The thrust areas of the New Telecom Policy-2012 are:

. Increase rural teledensity from the current level of around 39 to 70 by the year 2017 and 100 by the year 2020

. Repositioning of Mobile phone as an instrument of empowerment

. Broadband -“‘Broadband For All” at a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps

. Domestic Manufacturing – Making India a global hub

. Convergence of Network, Services and Devices

. Liberalisation of Spectrum – any Service in any Technology

. Simplification of Licensing regime – Unified Licensing, delinking of Spectrum from License, Online real time submission and processing

. Consumer Focus – Achieve One Nation – Full Mobile Number Portability and work towards One Nation – Free Roaming

. Resale of Services

. Voice over Internet Protocol

. Cloud Computing, Next Generation Network including IPV6

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