The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Iron WiLL to get link-up right

New Delhi, Jan. 7: Limited mobility service providers are all geared up to seek legal action against cellular operators on the interconnectivity issue arguing that it is tantamount to a violation of fundamental rights and goes against the canons of competition.

Operators who offer limited mobility based on wireless-in-local-loop (WiLL) technology cannot send or receive calls amongst themselves without interconnectivity arrangements.

“Failure to provide interconnection amounts to a violation of basic fundamental rights. Why should the basic right to communicate between a husband and wife be disallowed simply because they have opted for two different telecom service providers or two different technologies,” a legal counsel of a limited mobility operator said.

“We will have to examine legal options if cellular operators do not provide interconnectivity,” he said.

The Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO) pointed out that by denying interconnectivity to subscribers who have opted for limited mobile services, cellular operators were not only denying them the facility to get connected but also losing revenue. The association has already sought the government’s intervention to resolve the interconnectivity imbroglio.

The licence condition of cellular firms makes it mandatory for them to provide interconnectivity to all eligible telecom service providers as well as national long distance (STD) service providers, whereby subscribers shall have a free choice to make inter-circle international long distance calls through NLD service providers.

Among the first to be affected by the row is Tata Teleservices Ltd, which offers limited mobile services under the IndiCom brand in Andhra Pradesh. The company plans to approach the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) with revised points based on Reference of Interconnect (RIO) released by the regulator.

The RIO says the “interconnection agreement is expected to last indefinitely, but may be suspended or terminated under exceptional circumstances. Operational problems continually arise between interconnected networks, these may be technical or relate to money matters. Before they develop into a dispute, it is desirable that they should be formally discussed in a coordination meeting between the two parties.”

“Imagine what will happen to all private operators if a major operator like the government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam were to cut interconnection,” a senior executive of a limited mobility operator said.

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