The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Telecom tribunal’s power challenged

New Delhi, Aug. 19: The Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) cannot direct the government to re-write the licence agreement of telecom operators.

The department of telecommunications (DoT) today submitted to TDSAT that the tribunal did not have the authority to ask the government to re-write the licence conditions just because the technology had changed.

On the first day of the arguments at TDSAT on installation of V5.2 technology by the basic operators, additional solicitor-general Nageshwar Rao said the telecom tribunal cannot ask the government to change the licence conditions. However, TDSAT has the right to ask the government and operators not to set up mobile switching centres, said Rao.

V5.2 is a product that is a combination of hardware and software; it has the capability to control a call from being passed on to another network. The cellular operators are insisting that the basic operators, who have been given the green signal by the appellate tribunal to offer limited mobility, should install this product to limit their calls within the short distance charging area (SDCA).

However, the basic operators have contested this interpretation of the TDSAT ruling. They claim it is a ploy by the cellular operators to kill the limited mobile service. The arguments, which remained inconclusive today, will resume on Monday.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO) and DoT today concluded their arguments. Reliance Infocomm and Tata Teleservices — the leading limited mobility service providers — are yet to complete their arguments.

COAI counsel Goolam Vahanvati argued that the basic operators should not be allowed to set up mobile switching centres and should install V5.2 to maintain the difference in the limited and cellular mobile service.

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