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Policy & Regulation

Telcos’ no to bidding as Trai turns down DoT plea to reduce base price for 5G spectrum auction

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has turned down the department of telecom’s (DoT) plea to reduce the base price for 5G spectrum auction across 22 circles, while the cellular service providers, who had been bleeding profusely owing to Reliance Jio onslaught and competitive pricing, would stay away from the bidding to be held later this year, said the director-general of the industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Rajan K Mathews.

BSNL loses Arunachal, Assam mobile network tender as DoT to invite fresh bids

Ailing telecom firm BSNL has lost the mandate for rolling out mobile service project in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam on recommendation made by an inter-ministerial panel headed by Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant. The project was funded through Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) - which was formed by the Centre to help fund projects in rural areas - with an outlay of Rs 1,460 crore. The panel has recommended deployment of 4G services in both the states under the project.

TRAI releases consultation paper on KYC of DTH set top boxes

Telecom regulator TRAI Friday floated a consultation paper inviting suggestions on the desirability of Know Your Customer (KYC) for set-top boxes after the Information and Broadcasting Ministry sought its recommendations on the issue. The DTH broadcasting service was opened in the country in 2001 and on March 15, the government issued the guidelines for obtaining licence for providing Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting service in India. These guidelines, inter alia, prescribe the eligibility criteria, the procedure for obtaining the licence to set up and operate DTH services

Inter-ministerial panel clears draft RFP to select auctioneer for 2019 spectrum sale

An inter-ministerial panel has approved the draft RFP (tender document) to select the auctioneer who will conduct the upcoming spectrum sale, including for 5G radiowaves, according to a source. The Department of Telecom hopes to have the auctioneer in place by early-September, the source added. The matter is likely to be taken up in the next meeting of Digital Communications Commission (DCC) scheduled this month. Once the DCC takes a view on the issue, the Request for Proposal (RFP) will be floated,

Taipa seeks intervention from Telecom Dept to revise Rajasthan UDH policy

The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (Taipa) has sought intervention from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to issue directives to Rajasthan chief secretary to align local policies with that of the Centre’s Right of Way (RoW) 2016 rules. In a letter to telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan dated July 5, the Delhi-based group said that necessary directives to the Urban Development and Housing (UDH) that superseded all the previous policies, be provided and help in regularising telecom towers in the state.

DoT likely to start tracking system for lost mobiles next month

The government will launch a technology solution next month to enable detection of lost or stolen mobile phones that are operating in the country, an official said. The tracking system would make the detection of stolen mobile phones possible even if the SIM card is removed or unique code IMEI number is changed, the official revealed. The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) is ready with the technology and the service is expected to be launched in August. "C-DoT is ready with the technology. The telecom department will approach the minister for its launch after the Parliament session.

Benefits of new blockchain tech for curbing pesky calls to be visible in a month: Trai chief

Mobile operators are in final stages of operationalising Trai-prescribed new system for curbing pesky telemarketing calls, and consumers will begin to experience benefits of the new 'blockchain' framework in a month, Trai Chairman R S Sharma said Monday. Sharma said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will review the progress made by operators in this regard in the first week of July. "We will review in the first week of July, as to what was the progress of each entity,

DCC clears spectrum allocation norms for 5G trials; decision on Huawei expected soon

The Digital Communications Commission (DCC) - the apex decision-making body of the Telecom Department - Thursday cleared norms for 5G trials in India, even as the government mulls a "calibrated" view on the question of Chinese giant Huawei''s participation. A decision on the contentious issue of use of Huawei equipment in telecom infrastructure, particularly for futuristic 5G networks, is expected to be taken soon, said a senior government official who did not wish to be named.

Telecom spectrum auction to be held this year: Prasad

Newly-appointed Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Monday said that India will hold spectrum auction for 5G and other bands in the current calendar year. Taking charge of his new ministry, Prasad said that amongst his priorities will be revival of state-owned MTNL and BSNL. The minister, however, asserted that the telecom corporations will have to respond with professionalism and cooperation. "We will hold spectrum auction this calendar year," the minster told reporters. Other issues that will be prioritised by the minister include 5G trials in 100 days, fast tracking of five lakh wifi hotspots, and promoting telecom manufacturing.

DoT cancels mobile connectivity tender for Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has cancelled the tender for the provision of much-awaited mobile services in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI). “As per the approval of competent authority, the tender (ANI) is hereby cancelled,” the department in a notification Tuesday said, adding that it was meant to offer seamless mobile services in identified uncovered villages along with national highways in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands region.

Drop in mobile subscriber numbers in March not worrisome: COAI

Industry body COAI said Wednesday that not too much should be read into the in mobile subscriber numbers for March, as the reduced numbers are a result of consolidation of multiple, unused SIMs and weeding out of low-usage connections by operators. The comments come a day after data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) showed that the country''s total wireless subscribers fell to 1,161.8 million as on March 31, 2019, shedding 21.87 million users over the previous month.

Spectrum auction need to be commenced for 5G roll out: Tech Mahindra

The Department of Telecomm need to commence the auction of 5G spectrum in India as the regulators in some countries have already formulated policies and initiated spectrum auctions for the 5G roll out in their respective nations, a senior official of the IT giant Tech Mahindra has said. Manish Vyas, President of Communications Business and Chief Executive Officer of Network Services, Tech Mahindra said 4G is yet to touch all parts of the country, and while that happens on a massive scale,

COAI approaches DoT to stop sale of mobile signal boosters on e-commerce sites

After making a direct appeal to e-tailers, industry body COAI has now sought Telecom Department''s intervention to stop the rampant sale of mobile signal boosters and repeaters on certain e-commerce sites despite restrictions. Mobile operators'' association COAI has approached the Department of Telecom (DoT) saying sale of such illegal items not only violates norms but also hampers service quality for subscribers.

Mega fund raising in telecom shows promoters' seriousness despite structural issues: COAI

The massive fund raising exercise in telecom sector via rights issue underpins the seriousness of promoters and their continued faith in fundamentals and dynamics of the market despite "adverse circumstances" and "structural issues", that need to be urgently fixed, COAI has said. According to COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews, it shows the seriousness of the players to continue to fund their operations adequately.

See stability returning to telecom market by Q4 FY20: COAI

Stability and rationality may to return to the telecom market by the fourth quarter of the current fiscal, as mobile operators move beyond hyper-competitive pricing into tapping new, value-added avenues of revenue to bolster top line and profit, according to industry body COAI. "We expect stability and rationality to return to the market. The market has been, in a sense, a bit irrational in terms of dynamics, in terms of pricing...intensity of going after other people''s customers," Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan S Mathews told.

Trai bats for spectrum audit

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) wants the government to identify spectrum being held by various departments and agencies for effective commercial application of the scarce natural resource. “In order to ensure the availability of spectrum and appropriate utilisation, the Department of Telecom (DoT) should carry out studies on its usage and necessity so that various departments holding a scarce resource can use it in a right manner,” Trai Chairman Ram Sewak Sharma told ET.

TRAI withdraws over 6-yr old directive on 'Wangiri' calls

Telecom regulator Trai has withdrawn its more than six-year old direction placing restrictions on international call facility for pre-paid SIMs to protect consumers from missed call scam known as Wangiri calls. The move came after the industry informed the regulator about steps being taken to shield subscribers from such international phone call frauds, according to Trai. Wangiri, a Japanese word which means one ring and drop, is a phone scam where typically automated systems are used to make short and random calls to mobile phone numbers, leaving behind a missed number that is either premium or has promotional

Telecom regulator extends comments deadlines for OSP registration paper

The telecom regulator has extended the deadline for stakeholder comments and counter-comments on its discussion paper seeking to upgrade the regulatory structure around registration of other service providers (OSPs), offering services such as tele-banking, tele-medicine, tele-education, e-commerce, call centre, and other IT-enabled services. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in a statement Friday, said it has sought comments by May 20 instead of April 29,

Telecom Regulator to seek views on net neutrality compliance soon

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will soon come out with a new round of consultation on the compliance of net neutrality and identification of critical applications that could be exempted under the laid principles around a free Internet. “Consultation paper on how to monitor net neutrality is almost ready, and we are coming up with it soon on issues which the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has flagged, including applications that can be exempted,” Trai chairman RS Sharma

AITUC condemns 'deliberate' attempts to wind up BSNL

The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) Saturday alleged that a deliberate attempt is being made to wind up BSNL and a bleak picture of its financial health has been painted. The trade union in a statement said that a deliberate leak seems to be doing the rounds of the media, painting a bleak picture of the financial health of BSNL. It further said that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was ''unable to pay'' recently even the salaries of the employees for two months, and it is made to look as if overstaffing