DoT telecos meet remains inconclusive

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New Delhi, Nov 21 (UNI) After hectic negotiations between country's top GSM operators and key government officials, the crucial meeting on mobile number portability, auction-based spectrum allocation and usage dual technology remained inconclusive.

Officials remained tightlipped over the outcome of the meeting which was presided over by DoT Secretary D S Mathur.

More such meetings are on the cards during the coming days with Telecom Minister A Raja getting involved at a later stage.

Some of the prominent telecom players who attended the meeting were Anil Ambani, Sunil Mittal, Anil Sardana, Asim Ghosh, B K Modi and Rajesh Mehrotra of Shyam Telecom.

Speaking on behalf of GSM operator after the meeting at the Department of Telecom's headquarters here, Mr Mittal of Bharti Enterprises said, ''We have expressed our views and it is up to the DoT to decide.'' The meeting comes in the wake of the government's move of introducing mobile number portability and auction-based spectrum allocation.

The meeting of the Telecom CEOs with Mr Mathur failed to reach a consensus mainly because the department could not come out with a concrete settlement plan for the industry.

Earlier in the day, the GSM lobby Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) met over lunch to discuss the way forward and is expected to call on the DoT Secretary later in the evening.

The government on November 12 had announced that the much-awaited number portability, which will allow mobile users to switch their service provider while retaining the same number, will be started initially in the four metropolitan cities by March 2008.

Recently, BSNL, MTNL and Airtel welcomed and supported the number portability, saying it should be implemented nationwide instead of four metros -- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

The COAI had also favoured the move and said that this facility should be launched nationwide simultaneously. It should also be implemented in the fixed line segment, it had said.

In another related development, the government clarified before the telecom tribunal TDSAT that the decision to allow dual technology is a matter of policy and GSM operators have no right to challenge it.

In an affidavit filed through country's Solicitor General Goolam E Vahanvati, the DoT said its decision is a matter of policy taken in the larger public interest.

It also said the interest of the consumers would be benefited by the move.

Pointing out at the COAI petition, the DoT said, ''Petitioners has no right to oppose or challenge this policy decision''.

UNI

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