Tag Archive: Trai



The telecom tribunal on Thursday did not stay Reliance Jio’s free promotional offer, but asked regulator TRAI to “re-examine” issues relating to the approval granted to the operator to continue with the freebies.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), in its order on Thursday, asked TRAI to apprise it of the “outcome and findings of the examination” within two weeks.

TDSAT last week had reserved the order on an interim appeal seeking a stay on Reliance Jio’s free offer after hearing all the parties concerned, including TRAI, incumbent operators Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, and newcomer Jio.

In its interim appeal, Airtel had sought a stay on TRAI’s approval to Jio to continue with the free services. It had also sought a direction to the regulator to produce all the records related to its decision.

The appeal also sought to restrain Jio from providing its consumers the zero tariff plan and promotional plans. Jio had launched the inaugural free voice and data plan in September last year, and in December, extended the freebies till March 31, 2017.

Following this, the existing players such as Airtel and Idea moved the telecom tribunal against TRAI for letting the new operator continue the free promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days.
The operators criticised the regulator for being a “mute spectator” to the alleged violations.

On January 31, TRAI had held that Jio’s free voice calling and data plan were not violation of the regulatory guidelines.

TRAI had further said its examination had revealed that. the ‘Happy New Year Offer’ launched by Jio on December 4, 2016, is distinct from its earlier Jio Welcome Offer and could not be treated as an extension of the promotional offer as the benefits under both differed.

Recently, Jio announced that it will start charging for its mobile services from April 1.

Last month, Jio said its existing subscribers and new customers who come on board by March 31 can continue to enjoy unlimited benefits of its Happy New Year Offer for one more year (till March 31, 2018) by paying a one-time fee of Rs. 99 and thereafter Rs. 303 a month.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Union Communications Minister Manoj Sinha will meet the CEOs of telecom companies on November 1 to take stock of the call drop issue.

“The minister will meet telecom company Chief Executive Officers on November 1 to take stock of the call drop situation. It’s a stock-taking meeting and also roadmap for the future,” Telecom Secretary J.S. Deepak told reporters here on Friday on the sidelines of an event.

Deepak said the sectoral regulator – Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – has informed that there has been substantial improvement in call drop situation.

“We had a meeting in June, they (telecom service providers) gave us a 100-day plan. There has been, we believe, from TRAI figures lot of improvement in call drops. There were 54 networks which were not performing upto the standard in December 2015, and now it is down to only 19,” Deepak added.

The telecom companies had given a 100-day roadmap to the government in June to improve call drop situation.

“They assured that the target for the 100-day programme, as committed to the (telecom) secretary, will be met. They indicated that from the beginning of June 10 (when the 100-day programme started), there will be addition of around 60,000 BTS (base transceiver station) in 100 days across the country, out of which 48,000 have been installed in the first 45 days,” Manoj Sinha said on July 25.
The service providers have committed Rs. 12,000 crore to install 60,000 BTS to address the situation by arresting call drops.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


At a time when calls through Skype, Viber and Whatsapp are gaining popularity with every passing day, the Indian telecom watchdog on Wednesday issued a consultation paper on Internet Telephony seeking stakeholders’ opinions on various matters ranging from additional entry fee, call termination charges to quality of service parameters.

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In the consultation paper, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) requested the stakeholders to furnish their comments by July 21 and counter comments by August 4.

“What should be the additional entry fee, performance bank guarantee and financial bank guarantee for Internet Service Providers (ISP) if they are also allowed to provide unrestricted Internet Telephony?” the consultation paper asked.

The telecom service providers (TSP) have been asking the regulator for a long time to bring the Internet Telephony service providers or the over-the-top (OTT) players under the ambit of the law.

The TSPs had been seeking a level playing field between themselves and OTT apps which ride on their networks. But the OTT players offer cheaper rates as they do not have to pay any of the regulatory levies.

The consultation paper asked: “Whether accessing the telecom services of a TSP by the subscriber through public Internet can be construed as extension of fixed line or mobile services of the TSP?”

There were two major categories for voice transmission over internet protocol (IP) networks based on the type of IP network used. When voice is transmitted over public Internet, it is termed as Internet Telephony. Similarly when voice is transmitted over managed IP networks, it is termed as Voice over IP (VoIP).

Internet Telephony can be deemed to be a subset of voice over IP, in the sense that, when voice is carried over a IP network it can be termed as Voice over IP. And if the IP network in this case is the public Internet then it can be called Internet telephony.

The paper also sought views on call termination charges. “What should be the termination charge when call is terminating into Internet telephony network? What should be the termination charge for the calls originated from Internet Telephony Network and terminated into the wire-line and wireless Network?”

“How to ensure that users of International Internet Telephony calls pay applicable International termination charges?”

The paper also covered security issues. It asked: “Is it possible to provide location information to the police station when the subscriber is making Internet telephony call to emergency number? If yes, how? In case it is not possible to provide emergency services through Internet Telephony, whether informing limitation of Internet Telephony calls in advance to the consumers will be sufficient?”

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


The Union government on Friday released licence guidelines for Virtual Network Operators (VNO).

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“After considering the recommendations of Trai on VNO, the government has decided to grant Unified Licence VNO (UL VNO),” the telecom department said in its guidelines.

It said VNOs were treated as extension of Network Service Operator or telecom service providers and “they would not be allowed to install equipment interconnecting with the network of other NSOs.”

“VNOs shall also be allowed to create their own service deliver platforms in respect of customer service, billing and value added service,” the guideline said.

Regarding entry fee, the guideline said: “A one-time non-refundable entry fee for authorisation of each service and service area shall be payable before signing of licence agreement and thereafter for each additional authorisation. The total amount of entry fee shall be subject to a maximum of Rs. 7.5 crore.”
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.

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“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)


Amid a global debate over the issue of net neutrality, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Friday said it might soon take a decision on the differential pricing for data services.

“A few days back, we had released a consultation paper on the differential pricing for data services. We may take a decision in this regard soon,” Trai secretary Sudhir Gupta told reporters on the sidelines of ‘Consumer Outreach Programme’.

On Trai’s recommendation that the base price of the premium 700MHz band should be Rs. 11,485 crore, which is the highest base price of spectrum for the purpose of auction, he said, “In our opinion this price of spectrum is not high. You have to look at it from the perspective of 20 years and not one year.”

He also said it cannot be predicted that there would be no buyers at this price and added that predictions of the analysts were off the mark in the earlier four auctions too.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


With the government and operators claiming improvement on call drop front, telecom regulator Trai is conducting tests in seven cities, including Delhi and Mumbai, to find whether quality of service has improved.

A Trai official told PTI that drive tests in seven cities across the country started on December 21 and are likely to end by January 8.

The cities are – Delhi, Mumbai, Surat, Kolkata, Pune, Bhubaneswar and Indore. Drive tests are conducted to assess coverage and quality of service of mobile networks.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that call drop problem is improving and operators are putting up more tower sites.

The Minister last month said a total of 29,000 new telecom towers were installed by private telecom operators across the country after government took strong exception to the problem of call drops.

Operators have also said that they have taken steps to rein in call drops.

Meanwhile, Trai today told the Delhi High Court that “lack of investment” by telecom operators in network infrastructure, like mobile towers, appears to be the main reason behind the “pervasive problem” of call drops across the country.

In an affidavit placed before the court, the regulator said telecom majors, including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Reliance, “have failed to keep the investments commensurate with the pace of increase in usage and the growth in number of subscribers being added by them”.

Trai’s response came on the pleas filed by telcos challenging the regulator’s order mandating them to pay consumers Re. 1 per call drop experienced on their network, subject to a cap of three a day.

Trai had carried out special independent drive tests in Mumbai and Delhi in June and July and found the network quality below par.

It followed up with more such tests in September, which showed there was not much headway.

Other than the metros, the tests had been conducted in Surat, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Ahmedabad. Trai Chairman R S Sharma had held a meeting with top bosses of telecom companies on October 29 and asked them to improve the quality of service.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


As the debate over the net neutrality resurfaces, telecom regulator Trai has said it is looking to solve the issues “part-by-part” and also aiming to come up with the final guidelines based on the views received from different stakeholders, by early 2016.

“We expect to resolve some of the (issues pertaining to) the basic principles of net neutrality next year,” Trai Chairman R S Sharma told PTI in an interview.

As per SavetheInternet forum, the net neutrality principle says that Internet service providers should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks.

A debate on net neutrality stirred across the country after Airtel decided to charge separately for Internet-based calls but withdrew it later after people protested. Internet activists and experts flayed the operator for ‘Airtel Zero’ service along with Facebook’s Internet.org service, currently renamed ‘Free Basics’.

“Just as your phone company shouldn’t decide who you can call and what you say on that call, your ISP (Internet service provider) shouldn’t be concerned with the content you view or post online,” says the forum.

However, there are issues between telecom operators, Internet-based companies and consumer interest which has to be balanced by the regulator.

Amid debate over zero-rating plans and telecom firms offering discounted tariffs for accessing certain websites, Trai issued a consultation paper seeking comments on whether such differential pricing should be allowed.

Facebook’s Internet.org had partnered with Reliance Communications in February this year to provide free Internet access to many websites as part of the initiative.

“When some issues are big, you need to resolve them part-by-part. We are currently dealing with the issues as they arrive,” Sharma said.

The regulator till December 23 had received close to 5.7 lakh comments out of which over 5.5 lakh comments are through Facebook’s campaign. The paper is open for public comments till December 30 and counter comments till January 7. The social media giant is campaigning aggressively to defend it free Internet platform Free Basics.

Trai in March floated a consultation paper on regulation for over the-top applications like Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and net neutrality in March. The paper received over 10 lakh comments which included most of the messages from a digital signature campaign.

“We have received large number of comments on that paper.

We are working on the comments and hope to finalise approach of Trai in comings months,” Sharma said.

He said that telecom networks are gradually moving towards Internet-based technology specially with modern services like 4G coming in place.

“We have floated paper on IP based interconnection. We are working on it. We will have to see how calls provided through traditional network and Internet work in coming days.

This would also lead us to understand cost arbitrage around services,” Sharma said.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Asking mobile operators to improve infrastructure and address the call drop issue, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said providing good quality services is “their responsibility and they should do it”.

“I welcome them (operators) for their work but they should also keep in mind and ensure their services should be good,” Prasad said on the sidelines of Workshop of State Administrative Training Institute.

“Just being a big operator in not necessary, the services should be good also,” the minister added.

Asked about operators approaching Delhi High Court against the Trai’s regulation of imposing penalty for call drops, the minister said court would take its decision.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has come out with a compensation policy mandating that telecom companies from January 1 should compensate users at the rate of Rs. 1 per dropped call, with a ceiling of three such calls per day, which amounts to Rs. 3 compensation a day.

The issue of call drop has been prevailing over the last few months. The services though are now showing some signs of improvement. The minister on the policy front said he took most of the decisions that were pending for many years like spectrum trading, sharing, harmonisation and liberalisation and telcos should also do their bit.

“Telecom operators should work to improve their infrastructure and we expect them to improve it. Our department is monitoring it. They have done some work, more needs to be done,” he said.

Recently, the minister had said he did not want to be known as a ‘call drop minister’ and operators must reinforce their networks to improve quality of services.

He had also said the implementation of the investment commitments made by telecom players to upgrade networks is being monitored.

Inaugurating the workshop, Prasad called on the officials of both Centre and the states to catalyse introduction of digital technology in the governing system to bring transparency and efficiency in the delivery of services.

Prasad said Internet users during the current year has gone up by 49 percent in the country. The number of mobile Internet users in rural India is expected to reach 87 million by the end of this month, he said.

The minister said Digital India initiative is a process aimed at promoting inclusiveness through digitalisation and thus not dependent on any single programme or city.

He said the administrators at all levels need to ensure its spread from major cities to mofussil towns across the country. “The government’s initiative of setting up BPOs in small towns is a major step in this direction and States need to take full advantage of this,” he said.

Talking about the BPO scheme, he said private sector has responded well with 125,000 seats being requested for against expression of interest floated for 48,000 seats only.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Telecom regulator Trai Friday said the consultation paper it has issued this week is not on net neutrality but seeks views of stakeholders on a specific matter of differential pricing for data services being offered by operators.

Differential pricing however is seen by some as part of the overall debate on net neutrality, a principle which is against any priority being accorded to an entity in Internet traffic flow on account of payments made to service providers like telecom companies.

“We are saying that it is a specific issue which we have raised, that may be a part of net neutrality… This is a specific problem which has come to the notice of Trai and we are consulting the stakeholders as to what their views are,” Trai Chairman RS Sharma said at an event in New Delhi.

Amid debate over zero-rating plans and telecom firms offering discounted tariffs for accessing certain websites, Trai on Wednesday came out with a consultation paper seeking views if such differential pricing should be allowed.

When asked why is Trai issuing papers on net neutrality in parts, Sharma said the regulatory had not issued any paper on net neutrality as such.

He said there are examples which have happened in the recent past where content providers and telecom service providers (TSPs) have tied-up, and it is being proposed that if their content goes via the telecom companies’ pipes or networks, then there will be free or near free data charges.

“Effectively what has happened is that telecom companies in a way are creating a differential pricing regime for different websites, so that is the question which we have asked in the consultation paper whether it is appropriate or not,” Sharma said.

Earlier, Trai had issued a paper on over-the-top (OTT) players and if they should be regulated for providing competing services like telecom operators.

“Trai had not issued any paper on net neutrality as such. The Authority had issued an OTT paper and basically the issue in that paper was different,” Sharma said.

He said the issue that time was whether those OTT players who were providing competing services which the telecom operators were providing, and if they should also be regulated like telecom players.

“That was the question then, this question is completely different. Here what we are saying is tie-up between the content providers and telecom service providers, so that they start offering differential rates for that websites, whether that is appropriate or not,” Sharma said.

In the consultation paper, Trai is seeking comments as to what steps should be taken to ensure that principles of non-discrimination, transparency, affordable Internet access, competition, market entry and innovation are adhered to, in case differential pricing is allowed.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)