India's new telecoms policy is likely to be approved by June, the telecoms ministry said in a statement on Friday, delaying the keenly awaited policy by about six months as the government allows for more time for consultation.

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A labourer works amid rolls of underground telephone cable pipes on the outskirts of Jammu.

To facilitate wider consultation, the time period for giving feedback was extended by a month. Now the comments will be consolidated and further consultation will happen, which will take a little more time, a telecoms ministry official said.

India is overhauling its decade-old telecoms rules after the sector was hit by a massive licensing scandal that a state auditor said could have cost the government up to $39 billion in revenue.

The country will let cellular carriers share airwaves and allow for consolidation in the crowded 15-player market that has also been battered by ferocious competition, the government said in a draft telecoms policy released in October.

Telecoms Secretary R. Chandrashekhar said last month the policy was likely to be unveiled in January.