The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lot of questions to be answered

New Delhi, Dec. 27: A number of regulatory questions swirled on the issue of limited mobility service even as cellular and basic service providers hunkered down to review their service and tariff packages after Reliance Infocomm unveiled its value-for-money telecom service.

The biggest stunner was Reliance group chairman Mukesh Ambani’s claim that a subscriber would be able to move from one short distance charging area (SDCA) to another SDCA where Reliance offers services — a verbose euphemism for roaming that cellular users are more familiar with.

The claim flies in the face of Trai regulations that bar limited mobility service providers from zapping calls from one SDCA to another. Limited mobility is supposed to be circumscribed within a 25-km radius but obviously what Ambani was talking about clearly forded over these vexing regulator-prescribed borders.

“It (Reliance Infocomm) has opened up a regulatory minefield. The regulator will have a lot of explaining to do. The operators are examining the issues and we will explore the legal recourse only after consulting our legal counsel,” said COAI director general T. V. Ramchandran.

Under Reliance Infocomm’s IndiaMobile offer the major takeaways are a free digital mobile phone bundled with the Dhirubhai Pioneer Plan and free incoming local calls. The other shocker is what many felt limited mobility service providers would not be allowed to provide: text messaging and high-speed internet connectivity.

Reliance’s rivals in the limited mobility segment — BSNL and Tata Teleservices — do not provide value-added services and stick to the plain vanilla voice telephony. Tata Teleservices has applied for clearance from the telecom watchdog (Trai) to offer value added services.

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