Communications Buzz

Telecom regulator, Trai, recommended that national and international long-distance operators be permitted to offer STD and ISD services to any subscriber through prepaid calling cards. The move allows subscribers to pick an operator offering the cheapest rates. Trai said the move will fuel competition and bring down prices. The authority has, therefore, recommended amendment of NLD/ILD operators licence conditions to allow them to access customers directly for national and international long-distance calls, respectively.
Leading GSM players Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and BSNL are understood to have agreed to link with Reliance Communications’ GSM network. Sources said while BSNL has decided to allow RCom’s GSM services on the existing points of interconnections, Bharti and Vodafone Essar have agreed to open up their mobile switching codes to the Anil Ambani group company. Earlier in the day, five other operators— MTNL, Aircel, Tata Communications, Spice and Idea Cellular— agreed to open their networks to RCom.The move would pave the way for RCom’s smooth GSM network rollout as its subscribers would be able to connect with other mobile users. The GSM operators had earlier contested the claim by RCom to be provided interconnection for its GSM foray by reasoning that its GSM venture was part of a new licence and hence would require new negotiations. But the regulator had refuted this by saying that RCom’s GSM foray was part of the UASL and hence does not require any new negotiations.The GSM operators had said that their present agreement is restricted to provide interconnection to RCom’s CDMA network.

Aditya Birla group company Idea Cellular has dialled Mumbai—India’s most lucrative mobile telephony market-and will spend Rs 200 crore on the rollout. With this, Idea has become the seventh operator in country’s commercial capital, which has not seen any launch since 2004. Other players in the city are BPL Mobile, Vodafone, Airtel, MTNL, Tata and Reliance. It has paid Rs 600 crore as telecom licence fee and will spend another Rs 200 crore on its Mumbai operations. The company is the market leader in Maharashtra, with presence in 11 other circles. Idea Celluar subscriber base stands at 28 million. It has increased its cell sites to 29,000 for better connectivity.

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