DoT proposes one nation, one market policy


22 Mar 2011
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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has proposed to simplify the country’s telecom landscape. It has suggested one tariff for each licence holder across the country, all-India mobile number portability and doing away with roaming charges.

At present, the country is divided into 22 circles. Each circle has its own tariff structure. Number portability, too, is allowed only within a circle. And, subscribers have to pay a roaming fee for using telecom services outside their home circles.

The proposal to do away with roaming charges was also floated last year. Telecom companies, already reeling under low tariffs due to tough competition, might oppose the proposal as it would lower their roaming revenues.

The proposals have been mooted by the various committees set up by DoT to finalise the new telecom policy.

* One tariff for each licence holder across the country
* All-India mobile number portability
* Doing away with roaming charges
* Freedom to companies to use spectrum for any service

The DoT committees have also pointed out that the use of spectrum should be service neutral. This means that spectrum being auctioned should not be linked to any service and operators should be free to use it for any service (2G, 3G, 4G, etc).

To support the plan, the committees have mooted a nationwide call centre and a number for emergency services, akin to the 911 service that can be dialled from anywhere in the US. It has also suggested that access to broadband should be made a fundamental right.

DoT is in the process of formulating a new telecom policy due to the controversy over allotment of 2G spectrum. After the resignation and arrest of former telecom minister A Raja in the 2G case, the new minister, Kapil Sibal, announced the government would come out with a new policy. The policy is expected to lay new norms for mergers and acquisitions and spectrum allocation. It will also seek to enhance rural coverage.
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