New Delhi, Jan 30 (Agencies): In order to meet the agenda set by Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is almost ready with the draft of the new National Telecom Policy and expects to send the same for Cabinet approval in the first week of February.

In a major shift from the old telecom policy, Sibal on Saturday had announced that henceforth, all operators would have to pay market price for initial as well additional spectrum. This means that going forward, spectrum will not be bundled with licences.

The licence to be issued to telecom operators will be in the nature of a 'Unified Licence' and the licence holder will be free to offer any of the multifarious telecom services, Sibal added.

"We are ready with most of the things. We are working on two tracks. One is industry-wide consultation that our minister is holding himself and second, we have official level groups that will look in to every aspect of the policy.

"By end of January, DoT will finalise its own view and have discussion in first week of February. Once it is done, we will then send it to Cabinet Secretariat for approval," DoT Secretary R Chandrashekhar said.

The new Telecom Policy will have postulates that are important for growth of the Indian telecom sector, especially issues related to spectrum allocation, norms for mergers and acquisitions and new pricing on which spectrum should be allocated to players, among others.

DoT Secretary said that the DoT expects TRAI to come out with its findings on pricing and other pending studies related to spectrum management soon, so that TRAI's views are also taken into consideration before sending the draft NTP-2011 to the Cabinet Secretariat.

TRAI, in May, 2010, had come up with recommendations on a Spectrum Management and Licensing Framework, but there were a few topics for which the authority required additional time.

One of the most important subjects was pricing in the 1800 Mhz band, in which most of the GSM players have been allocated spectrum for running 2G services.

The other one is recommendation on pricing of frequency band between 3.4 to 3.6 Ghz, where DoT along with Department of Space had to assess the compatibility of satellite-based services with the terrestrial BWA services and give a detailed analysis on feasibility of mitigation of the interference problems reported by some of the stakeholders in this band.

TRAI Chairman J S Sarma has pledged to come out with final findings on these subjects by the end of this month.

DoT Secretary did not commit any timeline for commencement of NTP-2011, but added that in normal course, it takes 3-4 weeks for any action on policy issues, adding that the road ahead will depend on the response the DoT will get from the Cabinet Secretariat.