Tag Archive: COAI

The new telecom policy in the works should ensure equal policies for competing technologies, an advance yearly road map for spectrum allocation, and cut levies for operators, industry body COAI has said.

The policy should have some “permanent fixes” for the failing financial health of the sector and the industry cannot be treated “as a place to go for revenue”, COAI Director General Rajan Mathews told PTI.

The policy – the work on which has already started at the telecom department – should ensure level-playing-field between mobile operators and over-the-top players (Internet-based calling and messaging providers like WhatsApp).

Having equal policies for competing technologies would protect investments made by licensed mobile operators by ensuring regulatory predictability and consistency, according to COAI, whose members include operators Airtel, Vodafone, Idea as also newcomer Reliance Jio.

Propagating the “same service same rules” principle, Mathews said the new policy should bring OTT communication services under the licensing ambit just as mobile operators or else “deregulate” everyone.

“There should be same-service-same-rules principle. If such players are deregulated, then deregulate us as well. If they are offering voice too, why is it that only mobile operators are paying levies like licence fee and spectrum charge?” Mathews wondered.

He said COAI has placed its submissions on the new policy before the Department of Telecom.

Terming a robust policy on spectrum as “necessity” in ensuring its efficient management and allocation, the association has sought a long-term and clear road map for releasing radio waves for cellular technologies.

The same should be reviewed every five years or earlier, the industry body added.

COAI has also asked the government to ensure there is no delicensing or free allocation of spectrum, particularly below 1GHz bands, which are critical and more valuable.

Mathews felt that the new policy should be a vehicle for returning industry to financial health.

Accordingly, COAI has renewed some of its past demands like reduction of spectrum usage charge to uniform 1 percent and lowering of Universal Service Obligation (used for rural rollout) contribution to 3 per cent before the phasing out of the levy in 2-3 years.

Alternatively, COAI has said the USO Fund levy can be rationalised as per rural rollout done by an operator, or USO contribution can be kept in abeyance till the entire amount of available corpus gets fully disbursed.

The comments come at a time when mobile operators – large and small – are reeling under a massive Rs. 4.6 lakh crores debt burden and the industry’s revenue, profitability and key operational metrics are under pressure hurt by competition and freebies from newcomer Jio.

An inter-ministerial group, which has been constituted to look into the financial issues of the telecom sector and suggest remedial measures, is expected to submit its report later this month.

DoT has, meanwhile, also started consultations with the industry and academia on the new telecom policy and hopes to finalise it by March 2018.



Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


ll the gram panchayats will have the Wi-Fi connectivity by October 2018 under the Bharat Net programme, a senior government official said in New Delhi on Monday.



“By October 2018, the plan is to finish coverage of all gram panchayats with Wi-Fi as the last mile solution,” Telecom Secretary J.S. Deepak said in New Delhi at a round table conference on the topic ‘Data Connectivity for the next Billion’.

The conference was organized on the occasion of the annual general meeting of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

The Bharat Net initiative is committed to take the optical fibre to each and every gram panchayat in next three years, Deepak said.

Under the programme, Wi-Fi will be delivered, with a viability finding kind of approach, to each and every citizen at the price of about Rs. 100 per month, he said.

“In the first phase of the program, by March 2017, we will have 100,000 gram panchayats with 80-100 mbps connectivity with a last mile Wi-Fi, hotspot kind of end-user possibility to make data available to those who do not have access to it,” he said.

“In the next phase of the plan (Bharat Net), with underground fibre, overhead fibre, radio satellite and the use of state government agency, specially the power distribution companies, the plan is to finish coverage of all gram panchayats,” he added.

On the occasion, COAI also released its 2015-16 annual report, which said that about 800 million Indians will be covered by wireless broadband services by 2020 from the current 250 million.

Bharti Airtel’s managing director and CEO (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal was on Monday elected as the new chairman of COAI while Vodafone India MD and CEO Sunil Sood took over as its vice chairman


Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

The telecom industry stakeholders on Friday expressed their “deep dismay” over the remarks made against them in the Supreme Court by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in respect of business practices and ethics.



“The industry is deeply hurt by such strong remarks especially when it is a well-known and acknowledged fact that huge investments have been made by the operators which has yielded in connecting and empowering a billion people,” the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) said in a statement.

“At the same time, it is universally known the world over, that the Indian telecom service providers charge the lowest tariffs in the world, while paying one of the highest spectrum charges and other levies.”

Assailing the contentions raised by the telecom service providers (TSP) for not imposing penalty for call drops, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that there was huge gulf between the revenue being earned by the TSPs and the investments being made by them on augmenting the infrastructure.

If between 2010 to 2014, the revenue of TSPs has increased by 48 percent, the investment in infrastructure in wireless access service segment rose by only 4.6 percent from Rs. 2,02,399 crores in fiscal 2012-13 to Rs. 2,11,691 crores in fiscal 2013-14, he said, adding that investment in telecom infrastructure in 2015 here was $5 billion (roughly Rs. 33,330 crores) whereas in China it was $50 billion (roughly Rs. 3,33,302 crores).”

“Further it is also equally known that the industry has leveraged its financial ability and taken on debt to the tune of Rs. 3.8 lakh crores, to further invest a cumulative figure of over Rs.8 lakh crore, not only to meet its service obligations but in strongly partnering the government at every step to shoulder the massive responsibility of providing the highest standards of service quality and in establishing the best technology infrastructure,” the statement said.

“We, therefore, respectfully request and urge the concerned authorities to refrain from the use of such harsh and unsubstantiated language at any forum against the telecom service providers, which is not only uncalled for but also projects them in a poor light,” it added.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)