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Report gives clean chit to Reliance

New Delhi, Oct. 10: Almost a fortnight after the brouhaha over an investigation report, it now transpires that there has been no Code Red violation by Reliance Infocomm after all!

When the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) came out with its report purportedly identifying violations of limited mobility licence conditions by the Ambani-owned telecom giant, everyone was agog over the possibility that Reliance Infocomm would face crippling penalties.

The TEC report clearly indicates that Reliance is above board and its customers need have no worries about traipsing all over the country and receiving and making calls at will.

Here is why: Reliance offers a facility codenamed TSS — Temporary Subscription Service — that allows a subscriber to hop from one Short Distance Charging Area (SDCA, which is roughly a radius of 25 kms) to another with different phone numbers and different registration.

When a Reliance Infocomm subscriber registered in Delhi goes to Calcutta, he/she has to simply dial ‘4441’ to register for one day. The last digit after ‘444’ signifies the number of days a subscriber wishes to use that number in Calcutta. Once the subscriber dials this number, the registration is done by a software installed in the network as a new subscriber and allows him to make and receive calls.

The software also allows the network to identify that the calls received to the old number (the number registered in Delhi) has to be forwarded to the subscriber holding the new number in Calcutta.

The basic licence conditions say clearly that the service must be restricted to the SDCA. Reliance follows this scrupulously: the service for that particular number is restricted to the relevant SDCA and that’s how it makes sure that it doesn’t violate the letter of the law. As for the spirit of the law, that’s something that the telecom regulator and the lawyers can quibble over.

TEC has indicated that this doesn’t amount to a violation of the relevant licence conditions.

“It may be seen from the report that Reliance Infocomm, appeared to follow the licence conditions with respect to numbering. The mobility is restricted to SDCA. Mobility becomes available in any other SDCA in which subscriber terminal equipment is present physically and gets registered by using the TSS feature,” says the report.

The report also points out that the “numbering plan of the respective SDCA has been followed but an incoming call can terminate by dialling any directory number stored in the subscriber profile due to call forwarding/transferring feature activation by default.”

It concludes, “The handover of subscriber does not take place from one SDCA to another SDCA while communicating.”

This is a significant observation because the cellular operators have been saying that Reliance has been violating the licence conditions by allowing a subscriber to pass seamlessly from once SDCA to another.

The report says this doesn’t happen and there usually is a break in service when the subscriber crosses the SDCA border.

To stress its findings are not in violation of the licence conditions and not in conflict with the cellular mobile services, the report has said the Reliance customers gets a directory number after getting authenticated at a new SDCA. This gives the customers facility to access the other customers in that SDCA on local call basis and vice versa.

“This is not the case in respect of cellular mobile services,” says the report.

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