New Telecom Policy put on hold

By : |July 31, 1999 0

Bangalore: The Union government on Friday
gave an undertaking to the Delhi high court that it would not go ahead with its new
telecom policy till August 3 when the court is expected to hear a petition filed against
the policy by the Delhi Science Forum. The court has also asked the government to submit
details of the estimated earnings under the new policy, which marks a shift to the revenue
sharing regime from the license fee environment.

Attorney General Soli Sorabjee told the bench comprising of
the Chief Justice S.N. Variava and Justice S.K. Mahajan that the government would not
undertake any fresh agreements or commitments related to the new policy till August 3. The
new telecom policy was proposed to be made effective August 1.

Questioning the government’s plan of revenue generation
under the new policy, the petition has said that public interest has been compromised
under the revenue sharing regime.

Meanwhile, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
has put on hold the decision to accord free incoming calls facilities for cellular
subscribers. The proposal was to be made effective August 1. A TRAI statement has said
that the proposed calling party pays (CPP) regime would require additional time for
implementation and a separate notification would address the details of the matter in the
near future.

The telecom regulator has also allowed cellular operators
to fix lower security deposits within the ceiling of Rs 3,000 and rejected the demand for
charging installation fee when subscribers opted from one tariff to another. It has asked
the operators to either refund or adjust the difference in security deposits in the future
bills of the subscribers.

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