Speed up roll-out obligation norms for dual-tech players: TRAI


12 Jan 2012
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Speed up roll-out obligation norms for dual-tech players: TRAI

New Delhi, Feb. 20:

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked the Department of Telecom to expedite decision on imposing roll-out obligation on dual-technology players – Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices.

The regulator had in July 2011 sent its recommendations that licences of dual-technology players have to be amended to include separate roll-out norms for GSM spectrum. But the DoT has not taken any action on this till now.

In a communication to the DoT, the telecom regulator said that some industry associations have represented that “non-fulfilment of the contingent roll-out obligation by the dual-spectrum operators and non-enforcement of the same by DoT cast doubts on the implementation of the already disputed policy.”

The TRAI's observation comes even as the recent ruling by the Supreme Court on cancelling 122 licences has created doubts over the dual-technology licences. Both RCom and Tata Tele got GSM spectrum after 2007 although they had unified licences from before.

While the apex court has blamed the DoT for following a flawed process right from 2007 onwards, the dual-technology players are taking cover under the apex court order as it states that only the ‘licences' issued post January 2008 should be cancelled.
Additional charges

The issue of imposing additional charges on dual-technology players was also raised by the DoT in a presentation to the Prime Ministers Office last week.

On the roll-out issue, DoT's own licensing wing had taken a view last year that dual-technology players will have to fulfil roll-out norms for GSM and CDMA spectrum independently.

Under current rules, dual-technology players show roll-out as one comprehensive network of both CDMA and GSM technologies. RCom has already shown complete roll-out under its CDMA network. In 2008, the TRAI had sent a letter to the DoT that since spectrum was being given separately for both technologies, the roll-out should also be applicable independently.

However, at that time, dual-technology players had argued against the proposal on grounds that since both technologies were permitted under a single licence, the roll-out obligation should also be applicable on their combined network.

The Telecom Commission had accepted this position and did not impose separate roll-out conditions. But now TRAI wants the DoT to rethink the policy and ask the operators to show roll-out separately.

Source : The Hindu
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