The new Draft Telecom Policy 2011, which is set to replace the existing Telecom Policy has number of amendments that should make Indian consumers happy and at the same may create more anguish for Telecom Operators – who are already reeling under tremendous margin pressure to keep themselves afloat.
One of the proposals in the new Draft Telecom Policy is to abolish the Roaming charges completely. This will be a very big positive for Indian consumers especially frequent travelers who generally pay relatively heavy roaming charges.
In current circumstances, when consumer moves out of his existing “home” circle to any of the 22 designated telecom circles, he has to pay additional charges by way of roaming. But the new “Pan-India single circle” kind of setup will ensure that mobile call charges are even through-out India, irrespective of place, city or region you are calling from.
Currently, even though MNP is available, it becomes very difficult for users to retain their number when they move out of their existing circles as all calls are charged at roaming rates. The new policy will allow such users to retain the numbers without any extra call costs.
Having said that – this new proposal will not go down well with Telecom Operators who are reeling under tremendous margin pressures. According to estimates, Mobile roaming generates Rs 13,000-14,000 crore, or roughly 10% of total revenues of telecom operators. With such high chunk of revenues coming from roaming services, it will be very difficult for Telecom Operators to accept this proposal and it will most likely be met with stiff resistance.
Additionally, according to article in BS, the new draft telecom policy proposes to separate the licensing and spectrum allocation functions from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which will continue to retain the policy-making area. The subordinate offices of DoT will be given with the licensing and spectrum allocation work, which will ensure that more transparency is bought in licensing norms and procedures.
This new draft telecom policy is expected to be unveiled next week by Indian HRD minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal, though the implementation of this policy may take quite a bit of time. Telecom Operators will not accept this decision too easily…
What’s your take?