Mobile roaming: Sibal promises free roaming by October

Written by: Pti
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Kapil Sibel
New Delhi, March 7: Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday said the government will try to start national free roaming for customers before October.

"TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has floated a consultation paper on it (national free roaming) when TRAI's recommendations come, we will try to start free roaming before October," Sibal told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of National Internet Registry.

In December, TRAI had floated a pre-consultation paper seeking inputs from stakeholders on tariff for national roaming services.

It sought views of stakeholders on aspects of national roaming services like the cost components of call rates to be considered, the manner of cost recovery in case incoming calls are to be made free, the tariff for video calls and SMSes while roaming, the need for permitting special tariff vouchers for roaming customers, etc.

At present, telecom operators have to pay various charges such as termination charges and interconnection charges, for completing call of their customers on to other networks which get added to the final cost of the call for the customer.

On the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) allowing Norwegian telecom firm Telenor's Indian arm to adjust Rs. 1,658 crore licence fee it paid in 2008 against the final price it has to pay for buying spectrum, he said the decision is for other firms as well.

"The decision taken by EGoM that all those entities whose licences were cancelled and who participated in the auction and as these companies have paid the money, that adjustment will be done in this licence. It is not only for Telenor but for other entities also," Sibal said.

An EGoM on spectrum headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram had met yesterday on issues related to spectrum auction.

"The structure is same, majority holding is of Telenor. That's why we did it. It will only be adjusted, not refunded," the Minister added.

Sibal also launched the National Internet Registry (NIR), which will reduce the cost of processing IP addresses. NIR is entrusted with the task of coordinating IP address allocation with other Internet resource management function at national level in the country.

Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) had earlier endorsed the operations of NIR to National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI). NIXI was recognised by the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) in March last year.

NIR has been named as Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers (IRINN). IRINN, a division under NIXI, provides allocation and registration services of Internet Protocol Addresses (IPv4 and IPv6) and autonomous systems numbers to its affiliates to the Indian Internet communities.
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