New Delhi: Regulator Trai has sought information from the Telecom Ministry on the categories of license holders for whom an exit policy needs to be formulated.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) had asked Trai to recommend an exit policy for licencees who want to surrender their licences along with spectrum as they have not been able to start services or finding it difficult to roll out due to requirement of funds.

In response, Trai had intimated that being a new reference, the authority will need to carry out a consultation with stakeholders. The recommendations on the subject will be
sent in due course to the government, according to an internal communication of DoT.

The exit policy will allow new players, who wish to quit the crowded the Indian telecom industry, which has as many as 12-13 players in certain circles, to surrender their spectrum
and licences.

Under current licensing norms, there is no exit route offered to operators who have taken a telecom licence. A pan-India operator has to pay Rs 1,650 crore for a licence, but has no option to surrender it, along with the start-up spectrum of 4.4 Mhz, with no clause to get money back from the government.

Many new operators have either not launched services or have limited service available. The introduction of an exit policy will give respite to these players.

Incumbent operators are also in support of such a policy as they feel that such a move will help in freeing spectrum, which is a scarce commodity and can be used by others for expanding their operations.

(Agencies)