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Telecom Commission to meet on January 9 to discuss relief package for telecom sector

January 05, 2018

The Telecom Commission (TC) is reportedly planning to meet on January 9, 2018 to discuss the relief package recommended by the inter-ministerial group (IMG) for the telecom sector. Further, the commission is also expected to take a call on allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) for all telecom services including infrastructure through the automatic route, following the abolition of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) by the government. At present 100 per cent FDI is allowed, of which up to 49 per cent investment in a company can be done through the automatic route. The inflow of overseas investment beyond that requires government approval because of security reasons. Further, TC may also consider approving of grants for enabling Indian Institute of Technology to set up lab for indigenous development and testing of 5G technologies.

In its earlier meeting held in September 2017, TC had in-principle approved the extension of time period for the payment of spectrum bought in auctions by operators to 16 years from the current 10 years, as recommended by the IMG. It had also approved the IMG recommendation to lower the interest rate charged over penalties imposed on service providers with slight modifications. Moreover, the commission had sought a legal opinion on some of the points it approved at its previous meeting before firming up its view. The panel had also sought views of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on IMG's proposal to relax spectrum cap as it will provide exit path to loss-making mobile service providers and ease consolidation in the sector.


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