Sunday, October 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Government warns telecom operators

New Delhi, October 4
Hardening its stance against violation of norms and the spirit of telecom service by some operators, a group of ministers (GoM) today warned such operators and their subscribers that they would be at their own risk as the government would take appropriate measures for enforcing discipline.

At least three participants at the meeting of the GoM, chaired by Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, emphasised on the need for maintaining the credibility and sanctity of the norms evolved for limited mobile WLL services where appellate tribunal TDSAT has asked the Government to ensure distinction between fully mobile and limited mobile services, sources said.

Many ministers at the GoM are believed to have expressed an opinion that the government should not even appear to be favouring any particular service provider.

After a three-hour meeting, attended by Defence Minister George Fernandes, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, I and B Minister R S Prasad and Law Minister Arun Jaitley, Communications Minister Arun Shourie told mediapersons: “We are conscious of our responsibilities. We have identified those who are violating the norms in our view and have placed it before the GoM.

“We are proceeding with great deliberation and will exhaust all options to resolve the contentious issue,” he added.

Asked as to why the government was not taking action against operators found to be violating terms and conditions, Mr Shourie said, “They (service providers and subscribers) are doing that at their own risk.”

Mr Shourie also said that enforcement of two judgements of the TDSAT, which categorically said that WLL services had 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 exhaust all options before taking a final decision”.

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 regime to a unified regime.”

The 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 the SDCA. — PTI

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