Nov 16, 1999|
Government steps in to solve telecom muddle
According to newspaper reports, the government is exploring an out of court solution to untangle the current imbroglio between the Telecom Regulatory Authority (Trai), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
The current imbroglio traces its origin to the Trai's proposal to implement a calling party pays (CPP) regime under which the caller (fixed line) has to pay for calling a cellular phone. Ineffect, the revenue earned by the fixed line operator from the calls made to cellular phones will have to be shared with the cellular operator. The Trai has proposed that the revenue sharing for cellular operators be fixed at 80 paise. MTNL and DoT have taken the matter to the courts.
The government on is part is trying to establish the Trai as the sole regulatory authority with complete powers. The problem crops up when the two government owned operators, DoT and MTNL, object to certain measures being proposed by the Trai.
By trying to arrive at an out of court settlement the government is trying to speeden up the process of telecom tariff rationalisation. This is likely to stimulate fresh investment into the sector and also be beneficial to the consumer. Another motive that may be achieved from this is the assertion that the Trai is the sole authority and its guidelines need to be heeded by the public sector players. This could be achieved by forcing the public sector operators to toe the line drawn by the Trai.
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