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November 4, 1999
Sodhi calls for revaluation of mobile phone tariffTelecom Regulatory Authority of India Chairman S S Sodhi today said that with a change in policy that allows provision of mobile services using 'code division multiple access' technology, there is a need to re-examine the cost structure of cellular services.
Justice Sodhi, who also chaired the discussion, said there is a need to examine the cost of CDMA in relation to GSM.
''It is imperative for TRAI to examine these tariffs and to address the regulatory issues arising due to likely cross-subsidy when a major incumbent (such as MTNL) provides more than one important service using overlapping networks and accounts,'' he said.
TRAI recognises that consumer interest is best served by choice with more competition. If, however, a particular tariff is found to be below cost and un-sustainable, consumer benefits from the low tariffs are likely to be short-lived, he said.
Further he added that it is essential for TRAI to inform the consumer about the reason why a specific tariff package has not been approved.
Justice Sodhi said MTNL's entry into the cellular market raise crucial regulatory issues. Hence, it is imperative for TRAI to take a closer look at the issues through a transparent consultation process.
''TRAI is for greater competition in the market with no restrictions on technology use. But the concern we have is about ensuring that participation of all operators is in conditions of fair competition or in other words on the basis of level playing field,'' he said.
The government had on September 13 this year announced a major policy change, allowing cellular mobile telecom services to be provided with any digital technology, including CDMA technology.
Till then, CMTS had to be provided using GSM technology that is based on TDMA technology.
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