Trai plans to regulate pesky calls

Curbs to come up by month-end, says Sharma

“That job (framing regulations on unsolicited calls) is almost complete. We are planning to come up with the regulations before the end of this month,” Trai Chairman J S Sarma told reporters here on Tuesday. Trai had issued a consultation paper on “Review of Telecom Unsolicited Commercial Communications Regulations” in May this year.

However, Sarma declined to comment if Trai would set regulations for creating a “Do Call Registry”. Trai had floated a consultation process on UCC in 2006, based on which the National Do Not Call (NDNC) Registry was established in 2007. However, the NDNC did not live up to its billing as mobile users were continued to be bombarded with unsolicited calls and SMS messages by telemarketing companies despite signing up to it. Suggestion for a “Do Call” registry came up from the widespread consumer dissatisfaction.

2G spectrum proposal

The Trai, which is working on new proposals for 2G spectrum pricing, is expected to release the recommendations by the end of this month.

“The regulator is working on it and will release the norms by the end of October,” Sharma told newsmen here on Tuesday.  The new norms are likely to link pricing of 2G spectrum to the 3G spectrum licence after the controversial auction of 2G spectrum, which many felt, was under-priced to help a section of telecom operators. The Comptroller and Auditor General is currently investigating the issue of alleged corruption in 2G spectrum auction.

The Trai had in May suggested that mobile carriers pay a one-time fee for holding 2G radio-spectrum beyond 6.2 mega hertz based on 3G prices. However it received strong opposition from the operators as they feared it would hit them.  

Bids for the 3G bandwidth were much higher than the price companies paid for bandwidth to offer 2G services and the operators felt the one-time fee would hurt them in the highly competitive market.

The Trai is also likely to recommend an auction route for distribution of 2G spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz and suggest scrapping of the current practice of giving radio waves on the basis of the number of subscribers. The telecom regulator may change the criteria from subscriber numbers to geographical coverage.

When asked about mobile number portability (MNP) issue, which is due to be implemented from October 31, Sharma said: “We are optimistic that it would be implemented within the time frame or a few days later.” The MNP is a service that allows a mobile user to change his operator while retaining the number.

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