TDSAT says no to COAI plea on telecom policy

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New Delhi, Nov 21 (UNI) The telecom tribunal TDSAT today refused to accept the Cellular Operators Association of India's (COAI) affidavit to bring in 'necessary changes' in the recent moves by the government over mobile number portability and auction-based spectrum allocations.

The affidavit is expected to be recalled by the COAI at the behest of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

This is seen as a setback to the GSM operators who are sour over the new telecom norms that allowed dual technology for mobile services and enhanced subscriber linked criteria for spectrum, sources close to the development said.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) in its affidavit filed last week had said the issue of dual technology can not be challenged as it was a policy matter.

The COAI had said it appeared that representatives of CDMA player Reliance Communications were at hand to receive the 'in-principle' approvals after office hours on October 18.

In a related development in the course of the day, telecom companies CEOs and top government officials held one crucial round of meeting on mobile number portability, auction-based spectrum allocation and usage dual technology remained inconclusive.

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

More such close door 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 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.


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