Telecom leaders meet with DoT inconclusive

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New Delhi, Nov 21 (UNI) In the wake of government's move for introducing mobile number portability and auction-based spectrum allocation, the meeting of the telecom industry leaders with the Department of Telecom (DoT) remained inconclusive today.

The meeting of the Telecom CEOs with the DoT Secretary D S Mathur could not find any solution mainly because the department could not come out with a concrete settlement plan for the industry.

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

Today's meeting is seen by many as only the first meeting, with many such to follow, and the probability of the Telecom Minister A Raja getting involved at a later stage.

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''.

The COAI had challenged the decision to allow dual technology in TDSAT and held the government responsible in showing favourtism.

UNI

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