In a first-of-its-kind exercise, regulator TRAI is scheduled to meet CEOs of all telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio, on Friday to discuss and identify important issues that need to taken up during the year. A similar meeting is slated with top executives of cable and broadcasting companies, multiple-system operators (MSO) and DTH operators on January 10, TRAI sources said.
This is the first-of-its-kind exercise by TRAI as part of efforts to improve “regulatory predictability” in the sector, and is in tune with the best practices followed by regulators across the world, including the US, Canada, and parts of Europe.
“We have invited the CEOs of all telecom companies including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio and others for a discussion on January 6. Similarly, we have invited top executives of broadcasting companies, MSOs, and DTH companies on January 10,” sources said.
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TRAI Chairman R S Sharma had earlier told PTI that move to draw up and publish an ‘agenda’ of important issues in advance would improve the “regulatory predictability” in the sector.
The “agenda” is expected to include fresh issues to be taken up by the regulator, as TRAI expects most of the current issues to get disposed of by March 31, 2017.
The issues taken up by Trai during 2016 included free data, net neutrality, improvement of service quality norms for mobile services, internet telephony, proliferation of broadband through public wi-fi networks, machine-to-machine communications, issues related to closure of access services, Captive VSAT CUG policy issues, and review of the regulatory framework for interconnection, among others.
While TRAI’s “agenda” for the year would be a broad proactive list, urgent issues would be taken up as and when they come up, though they may not be included in the list itself.
“Many regulators around the world do this…This is one of the practices which regulators follow in various sectors like telecom…Canada does that, US FCC (Federal Communications Commission) does that, some European regulators also do it. So, we are trying to get those best practices here also,” Sharma had said about the proposed yearly agenda.