New Delhi, Jan 16 (Agencies): The Telecom Ministry plans to constitute separate groups to carry out discussions with various stakeholders in the run-up to formulation of the New Telecom Policy-2011.

"We have initiated preliminary discussions on the new policy and basically the initial discussions are on the modalities of how to go about formulating the new policy, because there are many stakeholders in the telecom sector," Department of Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar said.

"We are in the process of identifying groups which need to be constituted to commence the work of -- on one side, drafting of the policy and on the other side, holding discussions with various stakeholders," he added.

Earlier this month, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had announced the formulation of a new and comprehensive NTP-2011 that he said would be clear and transparent.

The announcement came close on the heels of a controversy surrounding the allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008 at 2001 prices.

Under the existing policy notified in 1999, spectrum was allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

The government will discuss various issues related to the telecom policy with consumers, telecom service providers and companies providing passive infrastructure.

In addition, the views of vendors supplying equipment and technology providers, regulators and rental institutions, among others, will be sought.

Although no timeframe was fixed for formulation of the new policy, Sibal had said on January 1 that the process would be initiated within 100 days.

"Eleven years have passed since NTP '99 and many changes have taken place thereafter. Action will be initiated to formulate a comprehensive NTP-2011," the minister had said.

According to sources in-the-know, the DoT is in favour of retaining the revenue share regime for payment of licence fees by operators and also distribution of licences and spectrum on a first-come, first-served basis.

The DoT will hold consultations with key stakeholders to evolve a "clear and transparent" regime covering licencing, spectrum allocation, tariffs/pricing, linkage with roll-out performance, spectrum sharing, trading and mergers and acquisition.

The DoT has favoured three overarching guidelines for the New Telecom Policy-2011, namely reasonable revenue for the government, affordable services for users and robust growth of the sector.

The government need to balance these three, the officials said, adding that the government should not get revenue at the cost of industry, while industry should not make super-normal profits at the cost of consumers by keeping tariffs high.