National Telecom Policy ’99–A look

By : |April 9, 1999 0

Finally, the
much-awaited telecom policy is here. Though the government has decided
to introduce the concept of revenue-sharing with private operators
(as demanded by them), new telecom tariffs are still awaited.

Revenue-sharing
regime: The wish granted

Cellular
operators have been unable to pay their license fee, even the payment
of 20 percent of the dues has given them nightmares.

Under the revenue-sharing
regime, there would be an entry-fee, and the private operators would
share revenue with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

                                 

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Operators have
been long demanding this. Reason–people have bought cellphones
but they are not using them due to high tariffs. Result–the operators
were not earning enough moolah to justify the license fee.

Telecom policy
brings a ray of hope. Whatever may be the entry-fee and revenue-sharing
ratio, it would be better than paying mammoth license fee.

Empowered
TRAI

There
was quite a bit of confusion over TRAI’s role and power. DoT and
TRAI have had their share of arguments and disagreements over the
issue.

As far as the
role of TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is concerned,
the policy is a mixed bag. Though TRAI has been given the role of
arbitrator for resolving disputes between government and the operators,
it won’t be making telecom policies.

Nevertheless,
TRAI’s recommendations will be mandatory while designing policies.
Over all, TRAI has got more teeth now.

DoT’s
fate

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will become a corporate by 2001. The policy has put an end
to the department’s monopoly on STD. Now private operators will
be allowed to provide STD services next year.

Telecom
policy–good or bad?

The
telecom policy brings a lot of hope as it touches almost all aspects
important for the growth of telecom services. The industry has welcomed
the policy with open arms. The policy makes a promise of growth,
let’s hope it keeps the promise.

NTP
’99: Features
  • Internet
    telephony not allowed
  • Nod
    for cable TV code
  • Cellular
    operators can provide PCO services
  • Opening
    up of the private STD service
  • 15
    phones for 100 people by 2010

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