No Inter-State Roaming Charges – NTP 2011

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibbal unveiled the draft National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2011 on monday, seeking to make a Telecom Subscriber the Ultimate Ruler. The new NTP contains new rules for the Telecom sector. The new policy will replace the existing framework that was being used since 1999. The New Policy (drafted) also advocates one nation, one license across services and service areas; this would imply that roaming charges would soon be done away with.

Key Points in the Draft NTP:

  • No charges for roaming around the country.
  • Mobile Number Potability (MNP) to be extended Nationwide.
  • Complaints and Grievance Redressal  system to be improved and strengthened.
  • Lowest Broadband speeds to be increased to  512 kbps & 2 mbps by 2015.
  • Sharing, Pooling and Trading of Spectrum to be allowed.
  • Future Spectrum Allocations at Market Prices.

The new policy also focuses on better and stronger subscriber complaints redressal system. The Government also wants to expand Mobile Number Portability to throughout the country, which would mean that you can keep your number even if you change the Telecom area and the operator. It will also allow operators to share the spectrum at their will.
It will also include a policy for allowing operators to exit the market, which could eventually lead to consolidation in an industry where more than a dozen players compete, keeping tariffs and margins low. The final policy is expected to be announced by December.

Sibbal said it was designed to ensure India played its role effectively and transforms the socio-economic scenario through accelerated equitable and inclusive economic growth by laying special emphasis on  providing affordable and quality telecom services in rural and remote areas.

The draft Policy will surely hurt the telecom companies as their profits decline. Telecom Operators earn about 10% of their revenues from roaming charges charged to the subscribers alone. So, they’ll surely be criticizing the NTP 2011 (Draft).

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