EGoM decides to free 700 Mhz spectrum band for 4G services

“There were about four issues which came up for resolution before the EGoM and three of them have been resolved fully. Basically the issues were relating to the 700 Mhz band those have been resolved,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal told reporters

New Delhi: An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on Monday decided to allocate 700 Mhz spectrum band for offering fourth generation or 4G telecom services, reports PTI.

“There were about four issues which came up for resolution before the empowered committee and three of them have been resolved fully. Basically the issues were relating to the 700 Mhz band those have been resolved,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here.

This particular band (700 Mhz) is considered to be very efficient and could fetch the government revenues more than it got through auctioning of 3G spectrum last year.

According to officials in Department of Telecom (DoT), spectrum in 700 Mhz band require probably half the investment to roll out services compared to what was required for rolling out services in wireless broadband spectrum auctioned in 2010.

The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry has earlier placed its claim in this spectrum band saying that Doordarshan has 40 Mhz frequency assignment for mobile video link and 8 Mhz for digital transmission in four metros.

“The I&B has kindly agreed to vacate that band and that issue has been resolved,” Mr Sibal said.

In other major issue on vacation of 1700 Mhz to 2000 Mhz spectrum band between defence and telecom ministry, Mr Sibal said that most of the matters related to it had been resolved and expressed hope that it will be completely resolved in next meeting of EGoM scheduled for the coming week.

“Then there were some issues relating to 1700 Mhz to 2000 Mhz band. We have had a full discussion and hopefully it will be resolved next week,” Mr Sibal said.

In this case, the defence ministry had shown interest to give DoT only 150 Mhz and retain the rest 150 Mhz while DoT has been pushing the ministry to give it 230 MhZ and retain 70 MhZ in the civilian areas to operate sophisticated equipments but allot all 300 Mhz in the urban areas.

This spectrum can be used for 3G services, 4G services and it is a progressive band for CDMA technology as well.

As per the MoU signed between the two ministries, the defence ministry had agreed to vacate 25 MHz of 3G spectrum and 20 MHz of 2G in phases. In return, the DoT had committed to set up an exclusive defence band and defence interest zone for the armed forces.

The project, however, is stuck because of financial constraints. According to sources, the Planning Commission has approved Rs800 crore for the project as against demand of Rs6,767.94 crore by DoT which included Rs5,000 crore earmarked for OFC based network for defence services.

The EGoM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, was also attended by home minister P Chidambaram, defence minister AK Antony, telecom minister Kapil Sibal, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, information & broadcasting minister Ambika Soni.


New Mines Bill provisions need “fine-tuning”: Corp affairs ministry

The clause in the new Mines Bill provides that “where a holder of mining lease is a company, at least one share will be issued for consideration other than cash to each affected family by mining related operations and such shares shall be non-transferable”

New Delhi: The ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) has suggested “fine-tuning” of the new mines law that provides for coal miners to share 26% of net profits and an amount equivalent to royalty by others, reports PTI.

Questioning a clause in the new bill that provides for issuing at least one share of the mining company to each affected family that will be non-transferable, the MCA in a letter to a parliamentary panel has said that under the Act shares of public limited, private limited and listed companies are transferable.

“Under the Companies Act, 1956, a window for transfer/sale of shares ought to be provided to the shareholders, with adequate safeguards for protecting the rights of affected families, it said to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Coal and Steel, which is examining the Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) Bill.

“Thus, the clause 43 (3) need to be fine-tuned in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956,” it added.

The clause in the new Mines Bill provides that “where a holder of mining lease is a company, at least one share will be issued for consideration other than cash to each affected family by mining related operations and such shares shall be non-transferable.”

The MMDR Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 12th December, was referred to the Committee for in-depth scrutiny and the government is hopeful that once the committee gives its report by March-end, the new bill will be passed in the upcoming Budget session.

The bill proposes to set up a district development fund, where the money accumulated from the 26% profit sharing by coal miners and an amount equivalent to 100% of royalty for others, will be deposited and spent on local population and area development.

Also, the MCA has advocated for allowing limited liability partnership (LLP) for grant of mineral concession.

It may be seen from Clause 5 that a citizen of India, a company under the Companies Act, 1956 or a registered firm under the Partnership Act are eligible for grant of mineral concessions, the letter said.

It, however, added that “LLP, a new form of business entity has not been allowed to participate ... LLP too need to be included.”

The Cabinet had approved the long-pending controversial draft bill on 30th September last year. It will replace the 54-year-old legislation governing the sector, as it was felt that the existing laws have not provided a fair deal to those affected by the mining projects and the leases were not given in transparent manners.

The Cabinet gave its nod after a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, set up to address inter-ministerial differences, could reach a consensus after marathon sessions.

Major players and industry bodies had opposed the profit sharing clause in the bill.

The new law will govern the sector that includes globally significant resources of over 60 metallic and non-metallic minerals.

India ranks among the top five nations as far as coal and iron ore reserves are concerned.


TRAI says no withdrawal requests for MNP after 24 hours

A mobile subscriber who has applied for MNP will not be allowed to withdraw his request after 24 hours. This will help subscribers who are often denied porting by mobile operator for sundry reasons

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked donor operators (DO) not to entertain subscribers’ pleas for withdrawing their mobile number portability (MNP) requests. The move follows the regulator’s observation of a high cancellation rate in MNP requests by these operators. Experts have welcomed the move emphasising the need to streamline process for MNP and feel that now onwards subscribers would also think twice before applying for portability.

MNP allows customer to ports out from an existing provider, known as DO, to new a service provider, known as recipient operator (RO), while retaining the same mobile number.

According to the recent notification, if a customer wants to withdraw his porting request, he can approach the RO within 24 hours filing the request.
TRAI’s direction says that, “The authority... hereby directs all cellular mobile telephone service providers and unified access service providers, acting as donor operators, not to entertain any request from the subscriber for cancellation or withdrawal of porting request and not to reject a porting request except on the grounds mentioned under Section 12 of the Telecommunications Mobile Number Portability Regulations.”
Experts point out that DO, in order to retain their customers, often delay in implementing the MNP request. Achintya Mukherjee, secretary, Bombay Telephone Users Association (BTUA), says, “This is good a move as DOs always lure the porting out customers by promising to resolve all their issues. But once the subscribers agrees to stay and cancels his MNP request, the DOs, ignores him as has been observed in many cases in the past. ROs, in my view, are always happy to receive more subscribers. In fact subscribers only wants to port out if they are unhappy with the services. It may be beneficial for them but they need to be sure of porting out.”
Speaking with Moneylife, Rajan Matthews, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India, said that, “The regulator explaining the original MNP regulation has now made it clear that the DO cannot entertain the MNP cancellation or withdrawal request. However, the customer has a choice to withdraw his/her MNP request by approaching the receipting operator (RO) within 24 hours. The entire process of MNP needs to be streamlined. We are constantly in touch with the regulator and the service providers. In the end, we want the customer to be benefited.”
TRAI has clarified that DOs cannot reject the MNP request except in some cases such as where there is outstanding payment due from the subscribers, if the MNP application is made within 90 days of activating new mobile connection, mismatch of unique porting number or if the subscriber has not complied with the exit clause in the contractual agreement.



Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

TRAI delayed MNP at the behest of Powerful service Providers from 2008. I wrote in Keemat the house magazine of Consumer Society in

March 2008. We were late by twenty years at that time. The methodology was available. But it was delayed and then denied when implemented by powerful lobby under one pretext or the other. More than 95% customers are prepaid so what is this dues excuse. What contractual obligation cug is specially created
for this and like to prevent the customer to excercise his fundamental right to choose.
Now preventing customers to change his mind? TRAI is playing in the hands of powerful lobbies. I simply dont understand my friend Mr Achintya Mukherjee's argument. If the customer grievance is redressed and he then doesn't want to port why restrict. Is his reversal permanent that he will be taken for a ride by DO. And I am amused when COAI decides that it is in the interest of the consumer. The radiation issue is still pending. In one of the BTUA seminar Mr Rajan Mathew made the fun of WHO. He said that pickles also cause cancer, should people stop eating pickle. Thank God he didnt talk of tobacco and like.
Ratanlal Purohit

Ratanlal Purohit
Consumer Activist

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