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DoT defends 3G policy, dismisses CVC charges
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NEW DELHI: The telecom department has drafted a five-point defence over allegations that policy roadblocks prevented foreign telcos from participating in the ongoing auctions for third generation spectrum.

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had demanded that the auctions be stopped and had alleged that the 3G policy was heavily tilted towards existing telcos and thus prevented participation by foreign players and new entrants.

The DoT has now said the government has been unable to guarantee second generation (2G) spectrum to new players or foreign operators, if they were to bag 3G airwaves since there were already many companies in queue for this resource.

In a bid to preempt another controversy, especially with regard to queries raised by CVC, DoT has said it had taken many steps to welcome foreign participation in the auctions and added that it would also explore policy changes in the future to enable foreign firms to enter the world’s fastest growing telecom market.

The DoT said that it had gone against Trai recommendations to allow foreign telcos to take part in the sale process and also allowed firms to bid for these airwaves without having an Indian partner despite existing foreign holding norms in the country.

A series of policy flip-flops by DoT had foreign players staying away from the ongoing 3G auctions. The policy changes denied them a fair chance of getting 2G spectrum, which is vital for offering the full complement of telecom services. International operators said since norms stipulate that new 3G players, if successful in the auctions, will have to shell out an additional Rs 1,651 crore to obtain a licence, they must also be given the start-up 2G spectrum that is required to provide traditional voice and data services.

Source: The Economic Times

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