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New Telecom Policy – No Roaming Charges

The new telecom policy will bring cheer to consumers with the government on Monday proposing to remove roaming charges for subscribers within the country, exponentially increasing broadband availability and speed and allowing for mobile numbers to be ported to any part of the country.

According to the draft of the New Telecom Policy unveiled by communications minister Kapil Sibal, roaming charges will be done away with and users will be allowed to port their mobile numbers, keeping the same number, even while switching service areas.

Highlights of the Draft of  National Telecoms Policy::
Key Targets
1. Create knowledge based society through proliferation of broadband – provide ‘broadband on demand’ by 2015. Achieve target of 175 million broadband users by 2017 and 600 million by 2020.
2. To promote R&D & product development in telecom
3. To make India a global hub for telecom equipment manufacturing
4. Increase rural tele-density from 35% to 60% by 2017 and to 100% by 2020.
5. 80% of telecom networks to be domestically manufactured by 2020
Consumer initiatives
1. Abolish roaming charges
2. Mobile Number Portability, which is currently restricted to a circle-level basis, to be enhanced to allow consumers to retain their mobile numbers when they move to a new city or any location in the country without having to pay ‘roaming charges’.
3. Strengthen grievance redressal mechanisms
4. Broadband speeds to be revised to 512 kbps & further to 2 Mbps by 2015 & 100 Mbps by 2020
5. Regulator to enhance consumer awareness on tariffs, services
6. Strengthen consumer protection act
1. Free up 300 MHz of airwaves for commercial telephony by 2017 & another 200 MHz of spectrum by 2020
2. All future spectrum allocations will be priced at market rates
3. Allow spectrum pooling, sharing & trading
4. Prepare a roadmap for spectrum availability for next 5 years
5. Reserve small amounts of spectrum in certain frequencies for indigenous development of products & technologies
6. Enact ‘Spectrum Act’, to deal with all issues connected with mobile permits, including re-farming, pricing of this resource, withdrawal of allotted spectrum and norms for sharing and trading.
7. To promote use of white space with low power devices
For mobile permits
1. To frame an exit policy for new entrants to surrender their mobile permits & airwaves
2. Delink licence from spectrum. Make mobile permits technology neutral and divide them into 2 categories – Network Service Operator & Service Delivery Operator
3. Allow sharing of networks
4. Regulate value added services, especially the carriage charge
5. To provide clear rules for renewal of all mobile permits
6. To put in place legal, regulatory and licensing framework for convergence of services, networks and devices
7. Move towards an unified licensing regime that will allow operators to offer any service
8. Address the Right of Way issues in setting up of telecom infrastructure
9. Relaxed M&A norms to allow consolidation
Telecom infrastructure issues
1. Recognizing telecom as infrastructure sector
2. Facilitate increased use of green tech for powering towers
3. Reducing carbon footprint of telecom sector
1. Develop and deploy systems for lawful assistance
2. Service providers to ensure security of network and data flowing in it
3. Building capacity for lawful interception and monitoring
4. Standardisation of telecom equipment
5. Govt and private sector to share cost of implementing security measures
Skill Development
1. Promote training institutes in rural and urban areas
2. Encourage collaboration with IITs and other institutes
3. Form a high-level apex body – industry, academia and PSUs – to oversee skill development
1. Create telecom finance corporation to facilitate investment in the sector
2. Rationalise taxes affecting the sector to make services more affordable
New Technology and data use
1. Review encryption, security, taxation, internconnection issues
2. To take steps to reduce cost of service delivery
3. Transition from IPv4 to IPv6; encourage applications and R&D on IPv6
4. Formulate policy on Cloud services
5. Adopt best practices on privacy, network security, law enforcement assistance, prevention of cross border data flow
Role of regulator and DoT restructuring
1. Strong and independent regulator with more powers
2. Review Indian telegraph act with stakeholders
3. DoT to look after licencing and spectrum allocation, ministry to focus on policy making
4. Strengthen DoT units to monitor and enforce licence conditions
5. Strengthen public grievances cell


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