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Aakash version 4 mass-rollout in January, 2014: Sibal

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NEW DELHI, INDIA: With 100 per cent FDI in telecom sector, the government seems bullish over telecom sector and believes that a plethora of opportunities are yet to be tapped while more needs to be done that include creation of domestic fab facility and investing in R&D activities.

At the National Telecom Summit 2013, organized by CII, telecom minister Kapil Sibal said that new unified license regime is expected to come out in a couple of days while he said that they are mulling to empower TRAI to oversee penalty issues.

"Liberalized spectrum will be available soon so that operators can leverage it for any technology," he said. Sibal said that the aim of government should ideally be to give free play in the market then regulate it. "Government has to take hard and quick decisions as so as to empower common man," he said.

Sibal said that there are more than 50,000 villages that have no network access. "Unfortunately, the vendors are not innovating for India and nobody is investing in R&D in the country," the minister remarked. He strongly feels that there is a need to put a fab in India so as to manufacture chipsets.

"100 per cent FDI in telecom will revive other markets that are linked to it," he said. Sibal also said that they are striving to put investor-friendly regime in India. "If government would not take hard decisions, change would not take place," he added.

Specifications for Aaaksh 4 have been frozen yesterday and 12 global players are in fray, informed Sibal. "By January, 2014, Aaaksh 4 will be available for people of India," he said. DGS&D, he said, would be responsible for procurement.

Penalties, he said are not a source of revenue for the government, but if an operator violates a law, there has to be a fine. Going forward, Sibal said, they are looking at TRAI to deal with penalties-related issues.

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