Aruna Sundarajan

Aruna Sundarajan asks Telcos to give an advance notice of 30 days before closing service

The Telecom Commission has recently made it compulsory for every telecom service provider to provide an advance notice of least 30 days to their consumers before shutting their services down.

According to a PTI report, these new rules have come up due to the unexpected closure of services by some telecom operators recently which left the subscribers in a fix.

This new rule will be under TRAI’s recommendations on ‘Closure of Access Services’ which were accepted by the Telecom Commission as well, the PTI reports.

In the report, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundarajan stated, “This was from point of view of ease of doing business and also customers are not put to great difficulty. It was decided that the customers are given 30 days notice before a service shut down and the licensor and Trai should be notified 60 calendar days in advance. Earlier no time limit was there”.

The subscriber, following this approval, won’t need to port his/her number on the same on the same  network if a particular technology is closed down but will need to port out if entire services of telecom operator are shut down.

According to the report, the Telecom Commission for the convenience of telecom operator, approved that in case the company wants to close down services partially, it will not be required to surrender entire licence.

“Licensee can be permitted to discontinue the services without the need to surrender the licence. The UAS licence will be amended to that effect,” The Telecom Secretary told the reporters.

According to the report, it has been decided by The Commission that a telecom operator wants to trade spectrum held by it for mobile services, the company will need to inform the Department of Telecom and Trai before 45 days of actual transaction date for partial sale and 60 days in advance for complete sale of radiowaves.

“The DoT will need to revert within 15 days in first case and 21 days in second case in order to further enhance ease of doing business,” Sundararajan said.

The commission also approved reduction in spectrum usage charge (SUC) for internet service providers who use radiowaves in high frequency range to fill the gap in their network connectivity at the last mile access (subscriber’s end) and not for creating a ubiquitous mobile network across the entire telecom circle.

In the report, Aruna Sundararajan also said, “In the case of ISP and VSAT licencee no minimum presumptive AGR (part of entry fee paid by them) should be made applicable to them. SUC should be levied at 1 per cent so as to cover administrative charges and there should be no financial bank guarantee for ISP licences”.

Only 15 ISPs have been assigned spectrum (out of 262 ISP licence holders) by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for period of one or two years only. It will continue providing them spectrum on administrative basis 2.7 GHz, 3.3 GHz, 5.7 GHz and 10.5 GHz bands.

In addition to these decisions, the commission has also given a go ahead to the escalated cost of rolling out broadband network by state government under phase 2 of BharatNeT project. For this, the commission has approved Rs 405 crore capital expenditure, revised from Rs 375 crore, proposed by Odisha with 8 per cent (of capex) separate administrative expense, 3 per cent contingency and 6 per cent operational expense for period of three years.

Likewise for Andhra Pradesh it revised capex budget to Rs 998 crore from Rs 847 crore earlier, Jharkhand to Rs 490 crore from Rs 398 crore, Maharashtra to Rs 2,709 crore from Rs 1,871 crore and Gujarat to Rs 1,943 crore for BharatNet phase 2.

According to the report, the government has plans to connect all 2.5 lakh village panchayats by optical fibre base broadband network by March 2019.

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