More coverage on LBO of the proceedings of the LIRNEasia@5 conference: “The biggest contribution from research is not what is adopted, but what is adopted,” says Bill Melody, founding director of World Dialog on Regulation for Network Economies. “Harmful policies that are avoided with the information generated from research.” R K Arnold the head of the executive secretariat of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India says all its recommendation is based on extensive but decisions are not “We used a (LirneAsia) research on a tax and the government reduced the tax. In infrastructure sharing we drawn heavily on your research,” Arnold said. “But whether the decision makers use it at the top depends on a very fluid situation.
Banded forbearance, a concept we have been working on since early 2007 which was further developed in our interactions with the Communications Authority of the Maldives, has just been published as a refereed journal article by the International Journal of Regulation and Governance. A previous version of this article was selected for presentation at the CPRsouth 3 conference in Beijing in December 2008. The abstract is given below: Fast growing telecom markets, especially in the developing world, are attracting new types of users, especially those at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP). Innovative pricing is needed to respond to this increasingly heterogeneous demand. However, many regulators still claim to regulate prices using methods from the monopoly era, despite lacking capacity to effectively regulate proliferating tariff plans.
Proceedings from LIRNEasia’s Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) dissemination event, held on March 6th, 2009, have been published in Voice&Data, India’s leading magazine on the business of communications, and also LIRNEasia’s collaborating partner for the event. Over seventy key experts of the telecom industry participated at the event, with aim of understanding and sharing the key challenges in the Indian policy and regulatory environment and the solutions available. Delivering the keynote address, RN Prabhakar, member, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India explained the challenges faced by a regulator during the course of development. The event saw the release of the TRE survey, jointly presented by Rohan Samarajiva and Payal Malik. A panel discussion on ‘Challenging Policy and Regulatory Environment,’ was also held.
The results of the 2008 TRE research were presented at a well attended event in New Delhi on 6 March 2009. The picture above shows Mr R.N. Prabhakar, Member of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India responding to points raised in the discussion. In the background are members of the panel, including LIRNEasia Chair and CEO Rohan Samarajiva.
In the third round, LIRNEasia has extended the testing to one more location. With that we have tested two packages in New Delhi (MTNL and AirTel), two in Chennai (BSNL and AirTel), five in Colombo (SLT ADSL, Dialog WiMax, Dialog 3G, Dialog 3G Unlimited and Mobitel Zoom 890) and two in Dhaka (SKYbd and Sirius). A strenuous task for five teams, no doubt, who took readings at different times staring from 8 am and went up to 11.00 pm (some had to spend nights at offices) but results are worth the effort. What did we learn?
Contention Ratios varying from 1:50 and 1:20 (Can be relaxed a bit in residential as the links are not shared) is what LIRNEasia and TeNet jointly proposed, but Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) thought it best to adopt 1:50 and 1:30. According to ‘Guidelines for service providers providing Internet/broadband services for ensuring better quality of service’TRAI issued on March 2, 2009, ISPs are expected not only to maintain contention ratios above these values but also be open to subscribers on what they will deliver – instead of promises they cannot make. In addition we received some publicity from Indian online media. Good to know people start taking notes. More on LIRNEasia’s Rapid Response program here.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is set to review interconnect usage charges (IUC) after they were fixed back in 2002-03 and not revised since then. TRAI has set the ball rolling to revise IUC, particularly termination charge from Rs0.3/minute to Rs0.1/minute and carriage charge from Rs0.65/minute to as low as Rs0.
For a country that stood at the bottom of the pyramid in terms of telecom penetration a decade ago, 2008 was a watershed when India’s subscriber base topped 350 million users to make its network the second largest in the world after China, displacing the US. The significant achievement was made possible by the mobile telephony segment of communications, which was once thought to be a gizmo for the rich – what with a tariff of Rs.16.80 per call when the telecom revolution began in the country in the early 1990s. But with tariff falling to 40 paise a call and incoming calls becoming free, mobile telephony began to appeal to the masses.
Indian mobile telecoms firms added 9.2 million users in July, taking subscribers in the world’s fastest growing wireless market to nearly 300 million, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said on Monday. Leading mobile firm Bharti Airtel signed up 2.7 million customers, enough for it to overtake state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd as India’s largest telecom firm by total subscribers, including fixed-line subscribers. Second-ranked mobile firm Reliance Communications added 1.
The complete opening of Internet telephony, as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) a few days ago, will not only lead to steep fall in all type of call charges, be it local, national or international, but also help in increasing broadband penetration, an area where India lags behind. Industry analysts say person using Internet telephony to make calls would see his call charges falling by as much as 50-60 per cent compared to a normal telephone call today. This will benefit an ordinary home user as well as corporates and other industries alike. Internet telephony would help telecom penetration in rural India. Till now Internet telephony was allowed only between personal computers or to mobile or landlines abroad.
August has been a busy month for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and its chairman, the redoubtable Nripendra Misra, a dyed-in-wool bureaucrat who has in his regulatory avatar done arguably more than any of his predecessors on the job. He has plenty of support and equally bitter critics who wish he would give up on forbearance, cut rentals, mandate cheaper roaming and ensure per second billing instead of per minute. On August 20, the authority allowed India’s estimated 295 million telecom subscribers the freedom to use different long distance service providers without changing their service provider. Two days earlier, it had unshackled internet telephony (voice transmitted over internet protocol networks). Two weeks before that, it had opened the doors for virtual mobile networks, virgin territory in India till then.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to review termination charges, a major component of telecom bills. The charges are paid by the operator, from whose network the call is made, to the operator on whose network the call terminates. The DoT has asked TRAI to review these charges on a priority basis so that consumers benefit at the earliest. “Given that the central aim of the telecom policy is to provide services at affordable rates, it is suggested that a review of mobile termination charges, based on present and projected costs and traffic, be undertaken by TRAI in a time-bound manner,” the DoT said in a letter to the regulator. In 2003, Trai had recommended a termination charge of 30 paise per minute.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has said that mobile operators may be pushing consumers to give up fixed line telephone by charging a higher tariff for cell-to-fixed line calls. The regulator has asked the operators to stop the differential tariff as it was not justified. “The differential and higher charges levied by cellular service providers for calls to fixed lines do not have adequate justification. This can be viewed as an attempt to promote substitution of fixed line traffic by mobile traffic and may lead to forced substitution of fixed lines by mobiles, thereby reducing the target market for fixed line broadband,” senior TRAI officials said. Read the full story in ‘The Hindu – Business Line’ here.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday (Jan 23) recommended guidelines for rolling out mobile television services to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on various issues related to licensing and technology. TRAI has suggested that the choice of broadcasting technology should be left to the service providers but should be recognised by an authorised body. There are broadly two routes for providing mobile television services. One is operated by using the telecom network with spectrum already allotted to Unified Access Service License (UASL) and Cellular Mobile Telephone Service (CMTS) licensees, and the other using broadcasting method using separate spectrum. According to TRAI, telecom operators with CMTS or UASL licenses will not require any further licence or permission for offering mobile television services on their own network using the frequency or spectrum already allotted to them.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday (Jan 3) recommended open bidding process for granting licences for mobile television service in the country. Allocation of spectrum to mobile TV licensees should be automatic for successful bidders and should not require any further selection process. The FDI limit for mobile television service providers should be 74 per cent, it said.Releasing its recommendations on issues relating of mobile TV service here, TRAI said there were two routes for providing the services — one by using the telecom network with spectrum already allotted, and the other using the broadcasting method — and both can be used for launching the service. Telecom operators, having the Unified Access Services License (UASL) or the Cellular Mobile Telephony Service (CMTS) License, will not require any further licence or permission for offering mobile TV services on their own network using spectrum already allotted to them.
Responding to complaints from harassed consumers who are offered “broadband” at speeds much slower than those stipulated by the government, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has taken a tough call. It has written to operators saying they can no longer advertise broadband services that say they offer “up to” 256 kbps speeds, thereby circumventing the rules by offering services at far lower speeds Instead, Trai has directed all operators to clearly mention the minimum guaranteed download speeds in various packages. The regulator said operators have promised to abide by the new direction. Meanwhile, the regulator has also mooted a discussion paper, which was released today, on whether the present level of 256 kbps defined as the minimum speed for a broadband connection should be raised to bring it on a par with international standards. The paper said in countries like France and Singapore, broadband is defined as a minimum speed of 512 kbps.