Friday, December 12, 2008

No cap on number of 3G operators in a service area: Raja

With the state-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) Thursday launching the third generation (3G) mobile services called 'Jadu' in Delhi, the government said there would be no restriction on the number of operators/providers in a service area.

“The policy of 'no cap' on number of service providers in a service area has been adopted, as per the recommendations of TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India),” Communications and IT Minister A. Raja told reporters after the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched the 3G services.

“New licenses have been granted under this policy, which will bring much desired enhanced competition in the sector, with its consequential benefits like faster growth, lower tariffs, bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas,” Raja said.

Talking about the revenues generated through licensing fees and sale of spectrum, Raja said: "After migrating to revenue sharing regime, this sector has contributed Rs.500 billion (Rs.50,000 crore) through licence fee, entry fee and spectrum charges till the end of last financial year."

"During this financial year alone, it is expected that about Rs.160 billion (Rs.16,000 crore) will be collected from the licence fee and the spectrum charges,” he added.

The minister also said mobile number portability (MNP) would be implemented in metros and category A circle by the middle of 2009 and the entire country by end of next year.

MNP will enable mobile users to retain their telephone numbers when changing from one network to another.

“This will promote competition among service providers,” he added.

Raja said the TRAI has been requested to re-look into the mobile termination charges as the cost per line has substantially been reduced due to technological advancement and increase in traffic.

This exercise is expected to further reduce the tariff, he said.

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