Mumbai: Leading analysts on Friday welcomed the new telecom policy, saying it is forward looking as it will not only help consumers but will also aid the troubled operators in the long-term.

"The policy is clearly forward looking for aspects such as increasing broadband usage, increasing rural tele-density, promoting domestic manufacturing," KPMG India telecom practises head Romal Shetty said.

But for the policy to be effective and growth-conducive, it will need to detail out the aspects such as spectrum management, exit policy, excess 2G spectrum, Shetty said.

"If these issues are clarified and implemented... the telecom market can still continue as a sunrise sector." PwC India executive director Sandeep Chaufla said the policy, announced on Thursday, is "forward looking".

"The plan to provide facilities like full mobile number portability and free roaming are going to give a tremendous boost to the comfort of the public at large and will automatically create a very healthy competition at a competitive price from all the stakeholders in the sector," Chaufla said.

He added that the policy promotes state-of-the-art technologies like cloud computing, next generation network IPV6 and also the convergence of network services and devices.

National Telecom Policy-2012 aims to do away with roaming charges, introduces a national mobile permit that will enable operators offer all communication services under one licence, allow operators to share and trade spectrum and facilitate consolidation in the sector that has over a dozen players now.

Announcing the new policy, Union Minister Kapil Sibal said the Cabinet has made five changes to the new rules he had unveiled last October. The key change is that under the new policy, spectrum will be refarmed, a move that has been bitterly opposed by incumbent GSM operators.

However, the new policy does not speak about conditions of refarming, issues on spectrum pricing, participation by operators in the auction, etc.

Significantly, the new policy has omitted a controversial clause in the draft version which said revenue generation will continue to be a secondary objective of the government, and instead states that affordability and availability of effective communication will be core objectives of the policy, which will replace the over-a-decade-old NTP-99.

"Doing away with the roaming charges will enormously help the subscribers as they don't have to pay higher charges, apart from offering them the flexibility to have the same number anywhere in the country and will have more focused retention schemes from operators," Shetty of KPMG said.

For the operators this will have a negative impact on revenues and may have higher churn, but on the positive side the volume of minutes should go up significantly, Shetty said.

(Agencies)

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