Private telecos approach TRAI, say disconnection to hit BSNL

Private players alleged that BSNL is demanding erroneous termination charges from private players which is against TRAI’s recommendations

New Delhi: Private telecom operators on Tuesday said they have approached the Telecin Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to resolve the ongoing network disconnection issue with BSNL and alleged that the PSU was not co-operating with the industry players, reports PTI.

“We have given our representation to TRAI to issue an order. TRAI has taken our case for legal consideration.

Hopefully, something should happen by 26th September,” GSM industry body COAI director general Rajan Mathew told PTI.

Mr Mathew added that BSNL should work in public interest and wait for recommendations of TRAI on interconnect usage charge, which is under process.

BSNL had asked private operators to pay Rs165.62 crore IUC charge in Maharashtra and Rajasthan by 19th September or face disconnection from BSNL network.

Industry bodies COAI and CDMA have said the BSNL chairman and managing director has given them time till 26th September to make the payments.

Private players alleged that BSNL is demanding erroneous termination charges from private players which is against TRAI’s recommendations.

“Till the time TRAI does not come up with fresh recommendations on IUC, its recommendations on IUC given in 2009 stands,” CDMA industry body AUSPI secretary general SC Khanna said.

On BSNL’s remark that some players have paid the amount demanded by the company, Mr Khanna said small players who have less amount to pay may accept the charges but big players will not agree to the demand.

He added that BSNL subscribers will suffer the most in the event of disconnection of network compared to private operators.

“Since 1998, I have been in this association and we have always received disconnection threat from BSNL. It started from the time BSNL had 76% market share but now they have 14% market share. The muscle they used to flex no longer exists,” Mr Khanna said.

He said in case BSNL disconnects private operators from network, BSNL customers will not be able to call or send SMS to customers of other operators, while customers of other operators will be able to connect mutually.

“We are not worried, but telecom industry is going through a bad phase. Margins have declined. BSNL is making loss and any lacuna in service will make them suffer more,” Mr Khanna said.

According to private players, BSNL has demanded termination charges of up to 65 paise per call from them, which is against TRAI’s IUC norm of 2009, that states the charges to be as 15 paise per call.

Termination charges are a part of IUC which an operator pays to the other for landing calls of its user on the other players’ network.

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COAI seeks review of 100 SMSes per day norm

COAI argued that that such a regulation may pose a potential challenge to the ‘fundamental rights’ of an ordinary subscriber. There could be a situation where a customer has exhausted the limit and suddenly some emergency occurs. Due to this artificial restriction, safety of the subscriber may be jeopardised

New Delhi: Telecom operators’ lobby COAI has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to reconsider its recommendation to limit 100 SMSes per day per SIM, saying that such a regulation may pose a potential challenge to the ‘fundamental rights’ of an ordinary subscriber, reports PTI.

To stop the menace of pesky SMSes, telecom regulator TRAI had asked telecom operators to limit the number of short message services from 27th September.

There are several instances where SMSes are an important mode of communication. There could be a situation where a customer has exhausted the limit and suddenly some emergency occurs. Due to this artificial restriction, safety of the subscriber may be jeopardised, COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said in a letter to the TRAI.

TRAI had said that no access provider shall permit sending of more than one hundred SMSes per day per SIM.

While in the case of post-paid, it had restricted the number of SMSes to 3,000 per month per SIM.

In case a customer wants to use more than the prescribed limit of 100 SMSes a day, the access provider shall obtain an undertaking from such subscribers that the said telephone number shall not be used for sending any commercial communications.

Further, regarding allocating separate series ‘140’ for the telemarketing through the fixed line services, the letter added that the new number will pose challenge to service providers.

The identification of the calling party will be difficult and the service providers will not be able to reconcile their IUC invoices. This will lead to inter-operator IUC disputes as BSNL may claim highest carriage charges of 65 paise as terminating charge, he added.

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India’s growth to moderate to 7.5-7.75% in 2011-12: IMF

IMF in its World Economic Outlook said that controlling inflation continues to remain a major challenge for India and added that despite a series of rate hikes by the RBI, credit growth still remains strong

Washington: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects India’s economic growth rate to moderate to 7.5%-7.75% this fiscal, from 8.5% in 2010-11, on account slowing investments and sluggish global recovery, reports PTI.

“In India, growth is forecast to average 7.5% to 7.75% during 2011-12. Activity is expected to be led by private consumption,” IMF said in its World Economic Outlook.

The report was released ahead of the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank which, among others, will be attended by Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Investment, according to the Outlook, “is expected to remain sluggish, reflecting, in part, recent corporate sector governance issues and a drag from the renewed global uncertainty and less favourable external financing environment”.

IMF said that controlling inflation continues to remain a major challenge for India and added that despite a series of rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), credit growth still remains strong.

Inflation has risen to 9.78% in August, much higher than the RBI’s comfort zone of 5%-6%. In its bid to tame inflation, RBI has hiked key interest rates 12 times since March 2010 by 350 basis points.

RBI and the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council expect the country to expand by 8% in the current fiscal ending March 2012.

IMF said the emerging economies have borne the brunt of the global economic crisis and China’s GDP growth would average 9%-9.5% in 2011-12. This would mainly be on account of policy tightening.

“Investment growth has decelerated with the unwinding of the fiscal stimulus, but it remains the principal contributor to growth,” the World Economic Outlook said.

It said that economic activity in Asia remained solid but moderated somewhat in the first half of 2011 because of the temporary disruption in supply chains from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, especially in the automotive and electronics sectors.

Some economies in emerging Asia also experienced a slowdown in exports, growth in credit and asset prices in the first half of the year, firm consumer and business sentiment, and strong labour markets, IMF said.

It said that capital flows were sizable until recently, although more volatile in 2011. Also, activity in advanced Asia bounced back fairly strongly after the initial setback caused by the natural disasters.

However, it said that the recent debt crisis in the US and the euro zone could impact the economic growth of Asia.

“The recent volatility in US and euro area financial markets rippled through many Asian equity markets, which if sustained could affect the region’s future economic prospects,” the IMF report said.

It projected Asia’s growth to decelerate but remain strong and self-sustained, assuming that the global financial tensions do not escalate.

“For emerging Asia, although the slowdown in the United States and Euro area will dampen external demand, domestic demand is expected to continue supporting growth,” IMF said.

In advanced Asia, activity will be boosted by reconstruction investment, it added.

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