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GoM warns WLL operators against violation

October 04, 2003 15:55 IST

Empowered Group of Ministers on telecom said on Saturday that till a final decision on enforcement of wireless in local loop services within local call area is taken, basic operators violating the license terms and subscribers availing themselves of such facilities would be doing that at their "own risk".

"We are conscious of our responsibilities. We have identified those who are violating the norms and this has been placed before the GoM," Communication Minister Arun Shourie told reporters after a 3-hour long meeting.

Asked as to why the government was not taking action against errant operators, Shourie said, "They (service providers and subscribers) are doing that at their own risk."

Shourie also said that enforcement of two judgements of Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal, which categorically said that WLL services have to be limited within the local call area (known as short distance charging area), encompassed ingredients like call forwarding and multiple registration scheme.

"We are looking at various steps to check them and their subsequent consequences. The moment you take any step it may lead to litigations. So we are proceeding with great deliberation and we will explore all options before taking a final decision," he added.

He also said the process to unify the two licences (basic and cellular) could resolve some of the contentious issues, but, "we need to take some steps during the transition period while moving from the existing to the unified regime."

Shourie said unification of licences could not be done by merely switching a button. It would take time since it involved compensation to one party and fixing the fee.

Different formulae were being discussed in this regard with noted banker Deepak Parekh and Telecom Regulatory Authority chairman Pradip Baijal making detailed presentation already.

The meeting was attended by all the members -- Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, Law Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister George Fernandes, I&B Minister R S Prasad and External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha.

Next meeting of the GoM has been fixed for October 12, when the members would take up for discussion a circulated paper on enforcement of WLL services within SDCA.

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