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Reliance told to halt WLL roaming
November 04, 2003 14:15 IST
Last Updated: November 04, 2003 14:36 IST
The Department of Telecom has issued a notice to Reliance Infocomm asking it to discontinue offering roaming-like services on its WLL mobile phones within 30 days.
The notice has highlighted on three features of services, including use of same handset in areas other than where it is registered, facility of *444 and multiple registration scheme, and temporary subscriber service using same handset, official sources said.
Since final guidelines are yet to be announced by DoT on unified licence under which Reliance will have an option to migrate to the new regime to offer both basic and mobile services, Reliance may face problems after the 30-day period in the absence of the guidelines.
Though DoT has accepted Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's recommendations, as approved by the Group of Ministers on telecom and then by the Cabinet, the final set of guidelines has to be announced by the department only.
The cellular lobby opposed usage of the above-mentioned three services and the fight between basic and cellular operators went on for more than two years both in Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal and the Supreme Court.
Sources said that after the lapse of the 30-day period, the licence of Reliance Infocomm could be terminated by giving it another notice of 60 days.
Going by TRAI's calculations, Reliance will have to pay Rs 1,581 crore (Rs 15.81 billion), which includes a penalty of Rs 485 crore (Rs 4.85 billion) for offering roaming like services on its WLL phones against the spirit of the licence issued to them.
Asked by when would DoT announce the guidelines, sources said no time frame has yet been decided.
While announcing the Cabinet's decision last week, Union Communication Minister Arun Shourie had said the basic players offering WLL mobile services would have to pay the additional fee upfront to migrate to new unified licence.
The additional fee comprises the fee paid by fourth cellular operator, additional entry fee on WLL operators as directed by TDSAT and the penalty, if any.
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