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Policy & Regulation

Policies restricting data flow 'barriers' to growth of payments market in India: USIBC

With the RBI standing firm on its data localisation stance, the US-India Business Council (USIBC) Tuesday cautioned that policies restricting flow of data can act as "barriers" to expansion of services in India, impacting not only consumers but also growth of Indian payments market. The statement comes just a day after the expiry of RBI-imposed deadline on data localisation for payments companies operating in India.

DoT limits subscriber enrolment during network test to 5%; trial phase to 180 days

The telecom department has restricted enrolment of test subscribers on network of a new mobile operator to 5 per cent of its network capacity during trial phase and testing period to maximum six months. "The number of test subscribers that can be enrolled by a licensee in licensed service area (LSA or telecom circle) shall be limited to 5 per cent of its installed network capacity for that LSA," the department said in its order. The order has come in to effect from October 9.

Service delivery and maintenance now focus areas of BBNL: Manoj Sinha

Government’s ambitious BharatNet, an optic-fibre cable (OFC) initiative has now shifted its focus from network deployment to service delivery as it has touched nearly 50% of the country’s gram panchayats or village blocks. “Service delivery and maintenance are now focus areas of the Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL),” telecom minister Manoj Sinha Monday said, adding that 2.5 lakh village blocks would be connected by March 31, 2019 to offer e-health and e-governance services to the people.

SC notice to Centre, BSNL on use of 2G technology in Assam, Arunachal

The Supreme Court Monday asked the Centre and telecom operator BSNL to respond to a plea seeking to quash an agreement for use of "outdated" 2G technology in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam. A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta issued notices to the Centre and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) as the petitioner claimed that 2G technology was used in these areas despite the fact that telecom regulator Trai and the DoT had themselves said it was outdated.

PM Modi directs DoT to take measures to jam signals from across borders

PM Modi has directed the department of telecom (DoT) to take measures to jam signals from neighbouring countries as also to provide signals of Indian service providers going across the borders. The PM made this remark at the recently held monthly web-based interaction with secretaries of central government and chief secretaries from states under the PRAGATI interface.

DoT likely to approach Cabinet for 4G spectrum to BSNL, MTNL in November

The Department of Telecom plans to seek the Cabinet''s approval in the next two months for the allocation of spectrum to state-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL for 4G services, an official source said. "The draft Cabinet note is expected to be ready in mid-October after which it will be floated for inter-ministerial consultation. Thereafter the DoT will approach the Cabinet with a revised draft note in November," the source said.

UIDAI asks telcos to submit plan to discontinue Aadhaar-based eKYC

Days after the Supreme Court imposed curbs on the use of Aadhaar, biometric-issuing authority UIDAI Monday asked telecom companies to submit, within the next 15 days, a plan to stop using the 12-digit unique ID number for customer authentication. A circular to this effect has already been issued to the telecom service providers (TSPs), including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and others.

DoT extends deadlines for mandatory testing of mobile devices, telecom gear to April 2019

The Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), a nodal agency of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), has extended the deadline for starting mandatory testing of telecom equipment including mobile devices and base transceiver stations (BTS) to April 1, 2019 from October 1, 2018. In a notification issued on Thursday, the DoT said mobile devices, BTS, repeaters, GPON equipment, compact cellular network, LAN switch, routers, IoT device and media gateway imported

COAI to examine implications of SC verdict on Aadhaar linkage with mobile connections

Cellular Operators'' Association of India (COAI) Wednesday said it will examine and assess implications of the Supreme Court judgement, which states that it will not be mandatory for customers to link Aadhaar for mobile connections and bank accounts. The apex court Wednesday struck down the Section 57 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 that permitted private entities like telecom companies or other corporates to avail of the biometric Aadhaar data.

Trai planning to hold discussions with stakeholders on new policy goals

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is planning to hold discussions with stakeholders to prepare a roadmap for the implementation of the National Digital Communications Policy 2018. “We are readying ourselves and consult stakeholders on the policy aspects that requires attention,” Trai chairman Ram Sewak Sharma said, adding that the newly-approved National Digital Communications Policy also contained proposals put forth by the sector regulator.

Telecom regulator cuts porting time within a circle to 2 days, to fine telcos for flouting rules

The telecom regulator has called for speeding up the mobile number portability (MNP) process —which allows customers to keep the same number anywhere in the country — by halving the processing time of porting requests within a circle down to two days. The processing time for porting requests from one circle to another has been retained at four days.

DoT puts Aadhaar based face authentication on hold

The telecom department has put Aadhaar-based face authentication on hold pending the Supreme Court judgement on petitions challenging issuance of new mobile connections and re-verification through the use of the unique identity. The Department of Telecom (DoT) in a letter dated September 19, 2018, to the UIDAI CEO said that the judgement on petition filed in the apex court challenging Aadhaar based e-KYC process

Cabinet likely to discuss draft new telecom policy Wednesday

The Union Cabinet is likely to discuss draft of the new telecom policy, known as National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018, on Wednesday. "The draft NDCP is expected to be placed before the Cabinet for approval tomorrow," an official source said Tuesday. The government recently issued the draft NDCP, which once approved, will set road map for attracting investment of around Rs 6.5 lakh crore in the telecom sector.

Spectrum auction for 5G likely to happen in later half of 2019: Telecom Secy

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan Sunday said auction of spectrum for 5G services is likely to happen in the later half of 2019. "Right now, it (5G allocation) is looking to happen in later half of next year," she told here. The 5G services would offer telecom companies better visibility into market dynamics and potential revenue streams of the next-generation mobile services, Sundararajan said.

In-flight connectivity may happen in days: Telecom secy

In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) enabling passengers to make calls and access internet services on domestic and international flights in India may happen this or early next week, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said Friday. The central government would issue a notification for this soon, she said.

Govt to mine mobility data via licence plate readers & IoT

The government plans to track the movement of people through licence plate readers and the internet of things (IoT) ecosystem to mine mobility data as it seeks to create an intelligent transport system for the country. A senior government official told ET that the government will soon frame standardised guidelines for mobility data collection.

India keen to be data analysis hub but will not tolerate data misuse: Prasad

The government is keen to promote India as a big hub for data analysis but will not tolerate any attempt by companies to misuse data to influence the democratic process, IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Tuesday. The comments assume significance as the CBI has written to Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research in connection with the illegal personal data harvesting of Indians from the social networking platform.

DoT awaits clarification on in-flight connectivity norms from shipping ministry

The telecom department is awaiting clarification from the shipping ministry over area to be covered in the sea for mobile services under In-flight connectivity service before releasing the final rules. In-flight connectivity norms will also cover maritime transport. "The DoT is in final stage of issuing In-flight connectivity rules.

DoT to set up panel to examine 5G applications: Secretary

The Department of Telecom is in the process of setting up a panel which will decide on areas where 5G technology can be used, a top official said Friday. The department has received proposals for using 5G technology in telemedicine and remote surgeries, drones for security surveillance and monitoring of air and water pollution, among others, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told PTI in an interview. “Companies have come up with preliminary use cases.

Fear of cartelisation post telecom consolidation 'unfounded': COAI

Industry body COAI has sought to allay fears of cartelisation due to limited number of telecom players, saying the operators are listed companies conscious of their brand value and the sector regulator keeps a tight vigil. "...the three private players are (or belong to) listed companies...they are very concerned about their brands. They have built up the value of the brand through years of integrity and looking after customers...and they are not about to throw it (away)," COAI Director General Rajan Mathews told.