Representatives from industry bodies like COAI and Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) as well as telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and state-owned telcos attended the meeting called by senior telecom department officials.
Vodafone Idea flagged the "deep financial distress" in the telecom sector, reflecting in unprecedented decline in revenues. Over the last three years, half a dozen operators have exited by either merging their businesses with existing Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) or declaring bankruptcy, Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) rued.
"We have already floated a consultation paper on the subject of floor pricing… There is no question of expediting the process…There is no such deadline of 1st April on it," Trai chairman RS Sharma told ET on Friday. "Telcos are well within their right to fix a floor if they see an urgent need for it. There is nothing stopping them from doing that," he added.
According to sources, DoT has detected variation in accounting practices adopted by different circle offices.
Telecom regulator Trai on Wednesday strongly defended its recommendations on pricing of spectrum, including 5G airwaves, saying its views had been finalised based on industry feedback, and it is for the individual stakeholders to decide whether to participate in the auction or not.
Trai's views assume significance as Bharti Airtel, earlier this month, made it clear that it will not buy 5G spectrum in the upcoming auction if its base price is fixed at Rs 492 crore per megahertz as recommended by the telecom regulator. Trai chairman RS Sharma said that it is up to the cos to participate in the auction.
Earlier this month, the Trai had sought views for a roadmap on reasonable Internet traffic management practices that don’t infringe on rules around a free Web or hurt the consumer. It had also sought views on the governance structure of a proposed multi-stakeholder body that would advise the DoT on ways to monitor and apply net neutrality rules.
Trai has realised that it is no longer a financial arbitrage issue between telcos and apps, but one of security and lawful interception. There is also an absence of a global example of similar rules and the regulator needs to factor in clauses in the upcoming data protection law and social intermediary guidelines before making any recommendations.
Crying Foul After consumer group accuses Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel of wilfully disobeying SC orders, with COAI playing a part, COAI says petition is only looking to create problems. Airtel and Voda Idea have missed the Jan 23 deadline to pay dues to the government based on an expanded definition of adjusted gross revenue, as ordered by top court.
"The Director of Licensing Finance Policy Wing has issued direction that concerned departments should not take any coercive action against the licensees in case they fail to comply with the Supreme Court order, until further orders," an official source told PTI.
"Unfortunately, the proposal did not pass the test of internal scrutiny among the telcos, so we will have to come up with a different proposal," Rajan Mathews, DG, COAI, told ET. The COAI also clarified that neither the government nor the DoT was in any way involved in the plan which was only meant for internal scrutiny among the members of the association.
Telcos Airtel and Vodafone Idea are legally bound to comply with the payment timelines stipulated by the SC.
"The new framework is consumer-friendly and addresses the issues of stakeholders. We have provided the freedom to broadcasters and they are free to price. We have only reduced the bouquet cap to Rs 12," Trai chairman Ram Sewak Sharma said. The new regime was unveiled in Dec 2018, and the regulator has issued amendments on Jan 1, this year.
Indian television stations have sought to reverse the order a day after TRAI announced new caps on pricing and bouquet discounts. In the amended rules, announced after three-and-a-half months of consultation, the Telecom regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has reduced the cap on MRP of TV channels that are part of a bouquet by 37% to Rs 12 from Rs 19.
TRAI has reduced the cap on the MRP of individual channels to Rs 12 per month, from Rs 19.
The central registry for stolen or lost mobiles may not be able to protect the tampering or untraceablity of the phones. The IMEI can also be changed while repairing a broken or malfunctioning mobile phone. However the IMEI number which the registry wants to block, can also be changed, say experts.
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