TRAI Floats Consultation Paper to Promote Ease of Doing Business in Telecom

TRAI Floats Consultation Paper to Promote Ease of Doing Business in Telecom

To promote "ease of doing business" in the telecom sector, regulator TRAI Wednesday floated a consultation paper that has proposed time bound approvals, fees rationalisation and graded penalties, among others.

TRAI has issued a consultation paper, inviting views of stakeholders to examine some processes, which may have become redundant or may be executed in an efficient and transparent way due to change in the policies over a period of time or with the technological development.

"Based on the inputs received from various stakeholders and internal analysis, the draft recommendations have been framed," Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in the draft.

The regulator has proposed that the entire process involved in installation of mobile towers and use of spectrum should be made online for quick and easy approvals.

The regulator has suggested that DoT should adopt graded penalty system, in the range of Rs. 1 lakh-Rs. 10 crores that should be linked to the severity of the rule violation by telecom operators, instead of current practice of imposing Rs. 50 crores penalty per circle even for minor violations.

Trai has identified minimum net worth requirement as an unnecessary burden on existing telecom operator when the company opts for migration or renewal licence.

The regulator has proposed that "for an existing service provider, for renewal of licence or migration of its licence to UL (Unified Licence), the condition of minimum net worth should not be applicable".

A company offering full fledge telecom services across India is required to have minimum net worth of Rs. 25 crores for obtaining telecom permit - Unified Licence.

In case of merger and acquisition (M&A) process, the regulator has proposed that the Department of Telecom should file any objection on the deal within 30 days from the date it is filed before the tribunal.

"DoT should spell out a definite time-line, not exceeding 30 days post NCLT approval, for providing written approval to transfer/merger of licences by the licensor and it should be made a part of the M&A guidelines.

The regulator has proposed that the DoT should define a cap on the permissible market share of the merging entities taken together and beyond which merger proposal should not be accepted. It said that the current M&A guidelines do not define a red-line for the market share of resultant entity in a service area.

TRAI has proposed to rationalise test fee charged for checking roll out of mobile networks across various district and block headquarters.

A single mobile switching centre (MSC), from where calls are routed for completing communication, can handle multiple district and block headquarters but a telecom operator is required to pay fees for one MSC each time it is tested for a district or block.

TRAI has also proposed to issue import licence for telecom equipments within a defined time line and allow telecom operators to reinstall or deploy their mobile network equipment in any circle where they operate after giving prior intimation to wireless planning commission (WPC) preferably through the online portal.

"There should not be any requirement of taking prior permission of WPC for this purpose," the draft said.


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Further reading: TRAI, Telecom, DoT
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