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Telecom firms to offer direct connectivity

New Delhi, Aug. 1: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today directed all basic service operators and cellular mobile service providers, including BSNL and MTNL, to provide direct connectivity.

This means that the various operators especially BSNL and MTNL that have been bypassing the private operators’ network when a call from their cellular network is made to another network will have to send it directly to them.

At present, if a BSNL cellular subscriber makes a call to Bharti’s cellular network, BSNL takes the call and lands it at their fixed line network and then relays it from there to Bharti’s network.

Trai noted that transiting traffic between service providers in the same service area entails avoidable transit charges that are eventually passed on to the consumer by the service provider in the form of higher tariffs.

Private operators had approached the regulator regarding the issue of provision of direct connectivity between the networks of service providers. Private cellular operators mentioned that they have borne the interconnection costs for the existing interconnection link between their networks and BSNL’s PSTN network.

Further, they only bear all upgradation costs, whenever required. Therefore, BSNL cellular should seek direct connectivity with the existing private cellular mobile service providers, instead of transiting calls to other cellular operators through the interconnection links provided by the cellular operators between their networks and BSNL’s PSTN.

“In order to ensure effective interconnection between different service providers and to fix the terms and conditions of interconnectivity between the service providers as per clauses the authority directs connectivity should be made between the service providers at the earliest and not later than three months from the date of issue of this direction,” said a Trai release.

However, transiting of traffic in the exceptional cases (in the cases of overflow/disruption of traffic on direct interconnection route or in cases where there is insufficient traffic and direct interconnection may not have techno-economic justification) may be permitted through any basic operators network based upon mutual agreement between the service providers.

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