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Govt rules out compensation for cell firms
BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi |
March 04, 2003 12:12 IST
The government has refused to compensate cellular service companies for allowing fixed-line operators to provide limited mobility in their wireless-in-local-loop networks.
It also asked fixed-line operators to consider a compromise offered by the cellular services firms where they would accept the limited mobile services as legal if the fixed-line operators withdrew roaming facilities and stopped using mobile switching centres in their networks.
After a two-and-a-half-hour meeting of cellular and basic telephony operators, Vinod Vaish, secretary, department of telecommunications, said, "The government cannot pay any money from its pocket to cellular operators. We will have to work to resolve this problem. It needs further discussion."
The telecom industry panel will meet again on March 13. The panel was set up by Communications Minister Arun Shourie to resolve the two-year limited mobility controversy.
Meanwhile, the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal is slated to take up the case on March 17.
Vaish said cellular telephony firms had proposed to accept limited mobility in the short term.
In return, basic operators will have to agree to restrict their mobility to a short-distance charging area by using the V5.2 technology, which limits the mobility to around 25 km.
At present, almost all basic operators offering wireless-in-local-loop services use mobile switching centres through which they can offer full-fledged mobility.
Basic telecom operators will also have to agree to limit offering multiple registrations to a specific number of short-distance charging areas.
Companies like Reliance Infocomm have offered multiple registrations across the country, through which it is providing the roaming facility.
Vaish said basic operators would hold a meeting before March 13 to discuss the cellular operators' proposals.However, industry sources said the offer made by cellular firms was nothing new. The proposal had already been rejected by basic telephony operators, they pointed out.