Consultation Paper On Full Unification This Week: Baijal

New Delhi, Nov 9: | Updated: Nov 10 2003, 05:30am hrs
Identifying Internet telephony as the next revolution in the communication sector, the telecom regulator has said it will shortly come out with a consultation paper on unification of licences encompassing all types of services, including Internet, V-sat and long distance (both STD and ISD) services this week.

Our paper is ready... We shall issue it within a week or two, Trai chairman Pradip Baijal told PTI on Sunday.

The government had last week approved the unification of basic and cellular licences based on the Trai recommendations and the next set of recommendations will include other services too.

Defending the unification of basic and cellular licences, Mr Baijal said, this was the most practical solution in view of litigations going on in the sector. The government will be getting about Rs 2,000 crore without giving out additional spectrum to players.

On the issue of Rs 18,000-crore bailout package sought by the cellular operators in lieu of licence unification, he said, it is unfortunate that players who have been given over Rs 30,000 crore compensation since they started operations are still in the court. There is absolutely no rationalisation in their demand and I have communicated this to the government, he added.

He said the government will not have gained by prohibiting the march of technology in the telecom sector, adding there is huge potential in the market for everybody to grow.

There will be a network of 100 million telephone lines by 2005. Within a span of seven months from March this year, the cellular subscriber base has doubled to 24 million. For the first time, our tariffs are lower than those in China, he said, adding Reliance Infocomms tariff (at 40 paise) is not predatory.