New Telecom policy approved: Roaming charges to go, one-nation-one-number cleared
The government today cleared National Telecom Policy 2012 that aims to abolish roaming charges thus allowing mobile phone subscribers to use same number across country without having to pay extra charges.
"Target is one nation full mobile number portability and work towards one nation free roaming," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal
told reporters after the Cabinet gave approval to NTP. The Department
of Telecom (DoT) will now start process to implement full mobile number
portability allowing users to retain their existing number at the time
of changing their service providers across any state in the country.
However, consumers will have to wait for some time before roaming
charges are abolished and one-number-one-nation concept implement as DoT will first work out modalities of the new scheme before it is brought into force. The NTP
2012 envisages increasing penetration of telecom services in rural area
from current level of around 39 to 70 per cent by 2017 and 100 per cent
by the year 2020.
Under the new policy broadband speed has
been increased to minimum of 2 megabit per second (mbps). This change
will come into force with immediate effect. With the new policy getting
approved, telecom licences have been delinked from spectrum which was
earlier bundled with the licences. The NTP 2012 will allow operators to
provide services based on any technology by using airwaves and will not
restrict them to use it for particular service using any specific
frequency band. At present, there are frequencies which are specifically
used for providing GSM or CDMA services as per the permit given to the
NTP 2012 replaces 13-year-old New Telecom Policy
1999 and "seeks to provide a predictable and stable policy regime for a
period of about 10 years," Sibal said. The cabinet has cleared the
point that pertains to encouraging domestic manufacturing of telecom
"Making India a global hub for manufacturing. Till
the time we will not set up industry here...India will not be able to
become become global. It is very important because along with this
prices of device will also come down," he said. The major details of the
manufacturing telecom equipments are part of National Policy of
Electronics which Sibal send is expected to be approved within a month.
"Electronics manufacturing policy is hopefully going to be decided this
month.. it will go to cabinet soon," he said. The Cabinet has approved
NTP 2012 with five changes related to revenue generation objective,
Spectrum Act and TRAI Act. The government has deleted Spectrum Act which
was proposed in the policy.
"Spectrum Act has been deleted as a
policy matter we don't intend to have a spectrum act any more," Sibal
said. In the point which aimed at giving more power to TRAI, Cabinet has
added that policy making function would remain with government and the
regulator will not make policy. "We just want to add that policy making
function would, however, continue to remain with government, means TRAI
will not make policy," Sibal said.
The cabinet also substituted
the point which mentioned "direct revenue generation" as secondary
objective of new policy with "availability of affordable and effective
communication for the citizens is at the core of the vision and goal of
NTP 2012" at two places. The government has also replaced a sentence
related to spectrum allocation to migrate its users to different
frequency bands to make way for services based on new technologies.
Sibal said that any major changes in the policy in future will be
brought to the cabinet for approval. via[Indiatimes]