Welcome To A Roaming-Free India!
NEW DELHI, INDIA: The new telecom policy has been announced! The two most important notes are free roaming all across India and nation-wide mobile number portability.
The policy definitely envisions providing a "secure, reliable, affordable and high quality converged telecommunication services anytime, anywhere for an accelerated inclusive socio-economic development".
The thrust of the new telecom policy is on the penetration of telecom services in the rural areas of the country. According to the document, the plan is to increase the penetration level of telecom services in the rural areas from the current level of around 39 percent to 70 percent by 2017, and achive 100 per cent by the year 2020. This is not going to be easy, but given the solid moves India has made in telecom services, it is a goal waiting to be achieved!
Another significant addition to the policy is the increase in the broadband speed to a minimum of 2Mbps, a change that will come into force with immediate effect. This should be good news for those users who are still on dial-up or lower speeds.
Delinking of licenses from the spectrum is yet another positive step. The new policy will allow the telcos to offer services on any technology by using airwaves. Neither will it restrict them to use the technology for any particular service using any specific frequency band.
Introduction of the unified licence was also approved. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been authorised to finalise the new unified licensing regime.
The policy favours encouraging domestic manufacturing of telecom equipment, an area that has not really had too much success in the past. As of now, there seems to be no clear cut plan on what manufacturers of telecom equipment will stand to gain, should they choose to manufacture in the country. One hopes the policy document has answered this question.
As for call charges, they could rise, given that there will be free roaming. But, that seems a separate issue, isn't it? In the meantime, welcome, everyone, to a roaming-free India!
- Pradeep Chakraborty