The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tatas dial Delhi number

New Delhi, Dec. 19: Tata Teleservices today launched its fixed wireless and wireline telecom services in Delhi but its subscribers will not be able to call mobile phone users because the interconnect agreement with cellular operators has yet to be signed.

“We are still in negotiations with the cellular operators and we hope an amicable solution can be reached soon. We have already told them that we can sort out commercial issues relating to revenue sharing at a later stage. If they continue to be at loggerheads with us, then we will explore other options,” said S. Ramakrishnan, managing director Tata Teleservices Ltd.

Cellular service providers have been battling basic telephony operators in courts and the telecom tribunal on the limited mobility issue and are determined to do everything to stop the march of a rival technology and service that could undermine their own viability. This is why they have refused to sign the interconnect agreement with basic operators.

As a result, TTL subscribers will not be able to make or receive calls from cellular services like AirTel, Hutch, Dolphin and Idea.

TTL’s limited mobility service is already available in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra and, with today’s launch, in Delhi. The company is also exploring opportunities to take over circles in Kerala, Punjab and Haryana.

“The circles where we offer services account for about two-thirds of all the commercial traffic in India. Once the legal and regulatory issues are sorted out we would like to examine the possibility of offering telecom services in the three states of Punjab, Haryana and Kerala,” Ramakrishnan said.

Senior TTL executives led by Tata group chairman Ratan Tata, who had descended in the capital on the occasion of the launch of the limited mobility service, were bullish about the company’s fixed line and limited mobility services in Delhi.

Launching the service communications minister Pramod Mahajan said, “There are 500 million telephone subscribers in India and the operators should not fight amongst themselves since the pie is big enough for each one of them to have a piece of it.”

“This inauguration marks the completion of the first phase of the group’s plan in basic services and takes it closer to its objective of offering best in class service and complete telecom solutions to its valued customers,” Ratan Tata said.

Commenting on the interconnect problems with cellular mobile operators and the controversy surrounding the two technologies—code division multiple access (CDMA) and global system for mobile communications (GSM)— TTL director Jamshed J. Irani hinted at the emergence of 3G service in India. “In the next three years, the GSM and CDMA technology will converge and then opportunities will be aplenty for all,” he said.

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