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Limited mobility poser for Reliance

New Delhi, Sept. 25: The group of ministers on telecom, headed by finance minister Jaswant Singh, today recognised for the first time that Reliance Infocomm had violated the “spirit of limited mobility” and had not maintained the “limitedness” of the service.

“The Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) has submitted a report which said that one operator has violated the limitedness of limited mobility,” Shourie said. When quizzed who the operator was, he said, “Reliance has been found to have violated the spirit of the limited mobility and the spirit with which it was allowed by the group on telecom and information technology (GoT-IT).”

“We will inform the cabinet about this violation,” he added.

Reacting to this, a Reliance spokesperson said, “Reliance Infocomm reiterates its stand that it has always conformed to the terms and conditions of its licence and will continue to do so.”

The group of ministers (GoM), which also discussed the issue of limited mobility and universal licence, has decided to defer it.

The GoM will take up the issue of universal licence and has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to make a presentation on it.

The regulator has already undertaken an open house on the issue and is compiling the debates at the open house.

The next GoM meeting, which is scheduled to meet on October 4, will also discuss the presentation to be made by ICICI chairman Deepak Parekh. He will be presenting the guidelines that need to be followed during the interregnum period by operators while moving to universal licence.

The GoM on telecom also promised the telecom industry of smoother allocation of spectrum to telecom operators through negotiations with the defence ministry. It also promised the defence ministry compensation for the signaling equipment that it will have to change.

Announcing the decision, communications and information technology minister Arun Shourie said, “The defence ministry officials, headed by vice-admiral and wireless planning commission chairman will discuss the modalities and would be able to allocate the spectrum based on the demand. They will also identify the cities that need immediate allocation of spectrum and release the same.”

On rural telephony, the GoM has decided that the universal obligation fund will be operationalised and the 5 per cent ceiling that the operators contribute to the USO fund will be revised.

The concessions to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd to implement rural telephony will continue in the Tenth Plan period.

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