Free nation-wide roaming, MNP proposed in draft New Telecom Policy

Besides allowing nation-wide roaming, the telecom ministry is also planning to allow inter-circle Mobile Number Portability as per the recommendations of the draft New Telecom Policy 2011, likely to be unveiled by telecom minister Kapil Sibal next week

New Delhi: The government is mulling to allow nation-wide free roaming, frame an exit policy for operators to surrender licence and set up a telecom finance corporation to facilitate investment in the sector, reports PTI.

These, among others, are major focus areas of the draft New Telecom Policy 2011, likely to be unveiled next week by telecom minister Kapil Sibal.

Besides, the telecom ministry is also planning to allow inter-circle Mobile Number Portability (MNP), changing operator while retaining same number in different circles.

According to section on ‘financing’ in the draft NTP, it has been proposed to create a special purpose ‘Telecom Finance Corporation’ as a vehicle to mobilise and channelize financing for telecom projects in order to facilitate investment in the sector.

It proposes to include telecom sector projects within the ambit of financing from existing entities such as India Infrastructure Finance Corporation (IIFCL) and also to rationalise taxes and levies affecting the sector to stimulate investment and making services more affordable.

The service providers, particularly who bagged licences in 2008, have been facing problems to get finances. The setting up of a dedicated institution would help the players complete roll outs within stipulated time-frame.

On the exit policy, the draft NTP proposes to frame an appropriate exit policy, different from the surrender of licence to permit easy exit.

In fact, the telecom ministry has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for its recommendations.

According to the draft, the telecom ministry is mulling to incorporate a framework to increase the availability of spectrum for telecom services, to provide one nation-one licence across country and to permit sharing of networks.

Further, the draft NTP-2011 will also calls for delinking of spectrum in respect of all future licenses and spectrum shall be made available at price through market-related processes.

There is also plan to extend inter-circle MNP facility on nationwide basis so that the users can retain the mobile number while shifting from one service area to another, irrespective of the service provider, the note added.

On 1st January this year, after taking charge of the telecom ministry, the post which was vacated due to the resignation of former telecom minister A Raja, Mr Sibal had announced to bring in NTP-2011 which will replace the existing Telecom Policy-1999 in order to bring transparency and to provide level playing field to service providers.

Further, the note added that the draft NTP-2011 will ask to undertake periodic audit of spectrum utilisation to ensure that spectrum is being used efficiently, to prepare a roadmap for availability of spectrum every five years and to enact a separate Spectrum Act.

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Mobile handsets sold by Indian cos set to turn costly

Due to a depreciating rupee, which has declined by about 10% in the last three months, mobile handsets are set to become costlier by 10%

Prices of mobile handsets marketed by home-grown companies are set to increase by up to 10% due to a depreciating rupee, which has declined by about 10% in the last three months.

“The value of rupee has depreciated by almost 10%. Almost all companies are about to run out of their stocks which they had booked months in advance.

“The margins in handset business are very low and companies will have to increase price of their handsets,” National President of Indian Cellular Association (ICA) Pankaj Mohindroo said.

He added that companies are expected to increase prices in the range of 5%-10%.

Karbonn Mobiles Executive Director Shashin Devsare said that his company is also looking at increasing the prices in the range of 7%-10% across all its handsets.

“Despite the continuous fall of Indian rupee against US dollar in the past few months, Karbonn has absorbed the burden but now it is increasingly becoming difficult to retain same price levels," he said.

However, foreign companies manufacturing mobile handset in India are indicated they are evaluating the situation. “As on date, there is no decision to increase price but we are watching the situation closely," Samsung spokesperson said.

Korean mobile firm LG said that it will not increase price of its handsets in near future, while market leader Nokia remained silent on query of price rise.
Rupee has fallen to almost 50 against a dollar on from the level of around 44 in July, mainly due to increasing demand for dollars by foreign institutional investors and oil companies. Besides, economic crisis in Europe and looming slowdown in world economy are other responsible factors for the rupee devaluation.

In addition to weakening of rupee, the Karbonn Mobiles Executive Director said, various states across India are levying different value added tax (VAT) for mobile phones, adding an additional burden on consumers.

The Indian Cellular Association (ICA) is the apex body of the mobile industry comprising manufacturers, brand owners, application and solution providers, distributors, retailers and eminent consumers of mobile handsets.

The members of ICA include mobile phone industry players like Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, LG, Blackberry, Micromax, Lava, Zen and others.

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SEBI announces uniform KYC norms for securities market

The new KYC form will have space for giving identity details including name, nationality, PAN and/or UID number besides details like address, gross annual income and occupation

Capital market regulator SEBI announced introduction of uniform forms and documents for the purpose of customer identification by different market intermediaries like stock exchanges and mutual funds, a step intended to bring uniformity to the process.

"With a view to bring about uniformity in securities markets, it has also been decided that the same Know Your Customer (KYC) form and supporting documents shall also be used by all captioned SEBI registered intermediaries," the regulator said in a circular. The new rule will be effective from January 1 next year.

"The intermediaries shall take necessary steps to implement this circular and ensure its full compliance in respect of all new clients from January 1, 2012," it said.

This comes after SEBI received feedback from the investors that various registered intermediaries follow different KYC requirements.

"In case of mutual funds, portfolio managers, collective investment schemes and venture capital funds, though certain basic requirements have been prescribed for Customer Due Diligence (CDD) or KYC, no specific KYC format has been prescribed. As a result, these intermediaries use different KYC formats and supporting documents," it said.

The new KYC form will have space for giving identity details including name, nationality, PAN and/or UID number besides details like address, gross annual income and occupation. In addition, additional information specific to dealing in stock exchanges is also included in the form.

The customers will also have to furnish various documents relating to their identity, proof of address and other facts. In case of corporates, they will have to provide copy of balance sheet for last two financial years, copy of latest holding pattern in their firm, copies of memorandum and articles of association and copies of board resolution for investment in securities market.

Foreign Institutional Investors will have to furnish copy of SEBI registration certificate, while registered societies will have to provide copy of such certificate and list of managing committee members.

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