No free roaming calls yet, government fails again

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New Delhi, Apr 9: Days after the deadline announced by Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal for free roaming and slashed rates of Internet calls crossed its limit, the government is yet to initiate the process for the Cabinet approval of the policy, said sources.

According to sources, the department of telecommunications (DoT) is ready with the draft of the National Telecom Policy (NTP) but has not sent the same to the concerned ministries.

Sources reveal that this has put the stakeholders in the telecom sector in a fix, as sooner the NTP is put into force, the more clarity it is likely to give the industry in deciding on its future projects.

Reports reveal that differences are already erupting between government and the operators over the issues like free roaming services and access to voice services, as reported by India Today.

"Obviously, we cannot afford to lose on voice and free roaming. We will be left with data services alone if ISPs are allowed to offer voice services as well. The government needs to make changes in the new NTP. The new policy cannot ruin us. We have made heavy investments in setting up infrastructure and spectrum. We cannot remain a mute spectator," said a top official working with a leading telecom company.

Union Telecom Minister, Kapil Sibal announced the NTP 2011 in Oct, who promised that the new policy will be in place from Jun 2012.

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