TRAI 2G pricing norms by October-end

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - The telecom regulator would come out with new pricing norms for 2G (second generation) spectrum by this month-end, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman J.S. Sarma said Monday.

“We are more or less coming to a close to our work… I suppose very shortly,” said Sarma. On being asked if the recommendations would be released by October end, he said: “We are trying to do that.”

Earlier in May this year, TRAI had proposed that the operators should pay a one-time fee for holding excess 2G spectrum beyond 6.2 mega hertz based on 3G prices.

The telecom providers had strongly opposed this. The regulator then said it would submit fresh proposals to the government after a consultation process.

Asked about mobile number portability (MNP) from Oct 31, Sarma said it would be implemented within the time frame or a few days later.

“We have spoken to the department of telecom not to extend the deadline. However, the implementation will take place in the entire country or in two zones is yet to be decided,” he said.

MNP will allow users to retain their mobile telephone numbers even if they switch their operators.

It has already been delayed four times. Initially, MNP was to be implemented by December 31, 2009 in all the metros along with the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The deadline was then changed to March 31, 2010 and then to June 30, 2010. The June 30 deadline was again deferred as operators were not ready with the infrastructure to provide the service.

One of the reasons for MNP getting delayed is that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has rejected the proposal of Telecordia, a US-based company, for operation in India, citing security concerns. Telecordia was among the two agencies, besides Syniverse, chosen to implement and manage mobile number portability in the country. The department of telecom (DoT) recently issued a showcause notice asking the company why its licence should not be cancelled.

The country has been split into two number portability zones comprising 11 circles each and each zone is to be serviced by a separate MNP operator to avoid a monopoly scenario.

According to sources the telecom department might allow a single company, Syniverse, to roll out its services nationally.

Filed under: Economy

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