Government completes OFC deployment in 5,000 villages, as per Economic Survey 2014-15

The Ministry of Finance has issued the Economic Survey of India for the year 2014-15, highlighting the key estimates for the telecom industry. As per the Economic Survey, deployment of optical fibre cable has been completed under the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project in 5,000 villages across the country. The survey further states that the project is likely to be completed by December 31, 2016.

Meanwhile, the survey indicates that the government will be able to raise at least Rs 175.55 billion for the 2100 MHz band. Further, the auction of spectrum in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands will likely raise revenues of Rs 648.40 billion.  Therefore, if all spectrum gets sold at reserve price, the government will garner non-tax revenue of Rs 823.95 billion from the telecom sector through this auction.

The survey has also stated that a roadmap for providing more spectrum will be chalked out, as per the National Telecom Policy 2012, keeping in view the objective of affordable and reliable communication services to serve public interest.

Government completes OFC deployment in 5,000 villages, as per Economic Survey 2014-15

The Ministry of Finance has issued the Economic Survey of India for the year 2014-15, highlighting the key estimates for the telecom industry. As per the Economic Survey, deployment of optical fibre cable has been completed under the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project in 5,000 villages across the country. The survey further states that the project is likely to be completed by December 31, 2016.

Meanwhile, the survey indicates that the government will be able to raise at least Rs 175.55 billion for the 2100 MHz band. Further, the auction of spectrum in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands will likely raise revenues of Rs 648.40 billion.  Therefore, if all spectrum gets sold at reserve price, the government will garner non-tax revenue of Rs 823.95 billion from the telecom sector through this auction.

The survey has also stated that a roadmap for providing more spectrum will be chalked out, as per the National Telecom Policy 2012, keeping in view the objective of affordable and reliable communication services to serve public interest.

TRAI proposes reduction in ceiling tariffs for calls and SMS while on roaming

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), through the latest draft amendment of Telecommunication Tariff Order, has proposed a 35 per cent reduction in ceiling tariffs of outgoing local calls during roaming and an 80 per cent reduction in ceiling tariffs for sending SMSs on roaming.

TRAI has proposed to cut maximum charges that can be imposed on outgoing local calls during roaming from Re 1 per minute to Re 0.65 per minute. It has also proposed to cut maximum charge for STD call rates from Rs 1.5 per minute to Re 1 per minute on roaming.

For incoming calls, TRAI has directed telecom companies to charge a maximum of Re 0.45 per minute, instead of Re 0.75 permitted at present. Besides, it has proposed a maximum of Re 0.25 per STD SMS sent for customers while on roaming, compared to the prevailing ceiling tariff of Rs 1.5 per SMS. The regulator has also stated that local SMS should be charged a maximum of only Re 0.20 compared Re 1 that can be levied at present.
TRAI has sought comments from the industry stakeholders by March 13, 2015 after which it will issue the final order.

TRAI proposes reduction in ceiling tariffs for calls and SMS while on roaming

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), through the latest draft amendment of Telecommunication Tariff Order, has proposed a 35 per cent reduction in ceiling tariffs of outgoing local calls during roaming and an 80 per cent reduction in ceiling tariffs for sending SMSs on roaming.

TRAI has proposed to cut maximum charges that can be imposed on outgoing local calls during roaming from Re 1 per minute to Re 0.65 per minute. It has also proposed to cut maximum charge for STD call rates from Rs 1.5 per minute to Re 1 per minute on roaming.

For incoming calls, TRAI has directed telecom companies to charge a maximum of Re 0.45 per minute, instead of Re 0.75 permitted at present. Besides, it has proposed a maximum of Re 0.25 per STD SMS sent for customers while on roaming, compared to the prevailing ceiling tariff of Rs 1.5 per SMS. The regulator has also stated that local SMS should be charged a maximum of only Re 0.20 compared Re 1 that can be levied at present.
TRAI has sought comments from the industry stakeholders by March 13, 2015 after which it will issue the final order.

Vodafone India moves Supreme Court on the new interconnect charges

Vodafone India has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the new interconnect charges notified by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The regulator had recently issued the 11th amendment on regulations on termination charges. It revised the mobile termination charges for all calls originating from wireless network from Re 0.20 per minute to Re 0.14 per minute. However, according to the regulation, no such charges will be applicable for wireline operators.

According to the petitioner, the revisions made to the regulations are arbitrary as the telecom regulator is not allowed to issue new norms while the matter regarding the interconnect usage charges (IUC), filed in 2012, is still pending before the apex court. Therefore, Vodafone has requested the court to stay TRAI’s decision till the court gives its decision on the case.