ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rural Tele-density

The special scheme envisaged by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to boost rural tele-density is financially realisable. The revenue accruing to the government from telecom services is huge and what is required for boosting tele-density is just a fraction of this amount. Radio base stations can be put up all over the country and connected to mobile switching centres, as in the cellular mobile telephony networks. Any person can buy a mobile telephone instrument and obtain a SIM card from a service provider to get connected.

Telecom Reforms: A Decade On

The unleashing of private sector enterprise, initiative and competition in the telecom sector has yielded spectacular benefits for consumers. Further policy changes and greater transparency in the working of the regulatory bodies are now needed to keep pace with the rapid changes in the sector.

Unified Licence in Telecom

The recent announcements on unified licence and new tariff measures will in time give India one of the most facilitative telecom service regimes in the world.

Rewarding Inefficient Incumbent

There are any number of inequities between the state-owned telecom services and private companies. Some attempt must be made to even out the field such that consumer interests are not threatened in the war between the two. This is in fact what has happened in the recent move by the government to accept the recommendations of the regulatoy authorities on punishing private telecoms.

Telecom: Migration to Unified Multiple-Service Licences

Telecommunications are witnessing the infusion of disruptive technologies. The convergence of computer, telecommunications and infrastructure for broadcasting is making information storage, distribution and use universally available and affordable. Against this background, the continuance of administratively separated service licences is anachronistic. However, the initial move of the TRAI to migrate only the basic, limited mobility and full mobility licences into the unified licence was not properly conceived. Fortunately, the TRAI has amended its consultation document to include NLD, ILD and Internet also. In the light of our own experience and more so that of other countries, we should now move all information services into a permissive unified licence with the simplest of conditions and lightest financial burdens.

Unfair Competition in Telecoms

Giving so many financial sops and deferment of due payments to the state-owned telecom companies which have inherited assets and assured markets while their competitor private telephone companies have to raise equity and debt capital and have fragmented licences, territory- and service-wise, is inequitous.

Limited Mobility and Unlimited Troubles

The Indian telecommunication network and services have become a minefield where competing companies, some of them state-owned, are trying to get market share by exploiting various factors. How can the conflicts be resolved?

Managing Radio Frequency Spectrum

Radio spectrum is a limited resource and by tradition has come to be owned by the state. Its use has to be regulated in terms of purpose of use, place, transmitted power and coverage including directivity. In India the sharp demand for allotment of radio spectrum arose in the 1990s with the introduction of cellular mobile radio. The government and its agencies have not been particularly able or wise in coping with the diverse demands since then.

Telecommunications Tariff Revision

The upward revision of tariffs for fixed telephone services decreed by the TRAI is unwarranted, biased and objectionable on many grounds. In 1987 a national convention was held of all the stakeholders before we embarked on reforms in telecommunications. Since then many things have happened, some for the better and some for the worse. Statesmanship and justice for all stakeholders demand that there should be another well-planned and structured national convention on telecommunications and information technology.

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