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India Approves New Telecom Policy With Some Tweaks

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The government on Thursday approved a new telecom policy which will replace more than a decade-old rules, Ambika Soni, minister for information and broadcasting, said,

The cabinet approved the new policy with some changes from what was proposed earlier, Soni told reporters after a meeting of the cabinet, but did not elaborate.

The country overhauled its telecoms rules after the once-booming sector was hit by a massive scandal over telecoms licence grants in 2008, which the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has estimated to have cost New Delhi as much as $34 billion in lost revenue.

The new policy, which will separate licences and airwaves and will allow sharing of airwaves among carriers, also seeks to facilitate consolidation in the crowded market.

Pricing of airwaves is, however, not part of the telecoms policy, and will be set through an open auction process.