Telecom Minister to meet telecos on Nov 26

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New Delhi, Nov 25: In its ongoing exercise to resolve various issues plaguing the telecom sector like a formula on mobile number portability and auction-based spectrum allocation, Telecom Minister A Raja is expected to meet top telecom players tomorrow.

''The meeting between the Minister and telecom operators is expected to be held tomorrow and will be followed by a high power meeting with Department of Telecom (DoT) officials,'' a government official told to the sources here.

Earlier, such meeting on November 20 failed to reach a consensus, mainly because the DoT could not come out with a concrete settlement plan for the industry.

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.

The Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC), technical wing of the DoT, had given its report on spectrum allocation norms earlier this month, suggesting manifold increase in subscribers for allocation of additional radio waves.

Mr Raja had accepted the report in-principle, but in view of strong protests from GSM operators -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular -- the government constituted a panel to revisit the norms, that has to give a report by the end of this month.

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.


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