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Relief for ex-telecom secretary in additional spectrum case

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New Delhi: A special court here on Thursday dropped charges against ex- telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three companies in the 2002 additional spectrum allocation case.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge OP Saini discharged Ghosh and three telecom firms – Bharti Cellular Ltd, Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd (Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular Ltd (Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd).

The case relates to the department of telecommunications allocating additional spectrum in a decision taken on January 31, 2002, when the National Democratic Alliance was in power, allegedly resulting in a loss of Rs 846 crore to the exchequer.

The CBI filed a chargesheet on December 21, 2012, against Ghosh and the three telecom firms.

(IANS)

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Centre should incentivise private Commercial Banks for opening branches in Chhattisgarh’s tribal areas: CM

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Tribals in Madhya Pradesh (representational Image), Wikimedia

New Delhi, April 9, 2017: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Sunday said the Centre should incentivise private commercial banks for opening branches in remote tribal areas of the state.

He also stressed the need to improve the penetration of telecom services in tribal areas of the state.

The Centre can incentivise by giving permission to them to open 2-3 extra branches in A-plus cities for every branch they open in a remote tribal area, he said at the 11th Standing Committee meeting of the Inter-State Council here.

Raman Singh pointed out that in Bastar region, the coverage of banking services was a mere 10 per cent and in Surguja district it was just 15 per cent.

The Chief Minister said that since private telecom operators are not willing to expand their services in remote tribal areas, the state government should be provided assistance from Universal Service Obligation Fund to ensure this service in these areas.

He demanded resumption of central assistance for eight Naxal-affected districts of Chhattisgarh. (IANS)

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Ravi Shankar Prasad asks telecom companies to improve network

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Picture Courtesy:-www.digit.in

New Delhi: Asserting that there is a need for all the telecom service providers who are operating in India to ramp up their network facilities to improve service quality, Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday said he does not wish to be known as “call drop minister”.

“I regret to say very frankly it took a lot of nudging on my part to all of you to publicly acknowledge that there is a need for improvement and spectrum is less, but you need to improve the network. I am sorry, I don’t want to be known as call drop minister, sorry, I am very clear ,” he said at the second edition of Ericsson’s ‘Broadband for All’ Summit, organized in partnership with the Swedish Embassy and Cellular Operators’ Association of India.

The government is accountable to peoples convenience, the operators must rise to the occasion to reinforce their networks where infrastructure is lacking, operators must invest,

Referring to Bharti Entreprises chairman Sunil Mittal’s address earlier in the event, Prasad said, “I am complimenting you for Rs.60,000 crore, they must be used very quickly and I would hold you for your larger commitment that you said on July in the presence of prime minister (Narendra Modi) that you will invest Rs.80,000 crore. I hope you remember that.”

This year is the largest capex year for Airtel, we will be spending about Rs.16,000 crore on network,

On Monday, Bharti Airtel announced an investment of Rs.60,000 crore which will go into capital expenditure on fibre, cables and changing older networks.

(Inputs from IANS)

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Call drop penalty takes effect from January

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New Delhi: India’s telecom watchdog on Friday said mobile phone operators have to compensate subscribers on call drops from January 1 next year at the rate of a rupee for each such failure.

A notification from the Telecom Regulatory Authotity of India (TRAI) said the calling consumer will get a credit of Re 1 per call drop, limited to three such occurances per day in a 24-hour cycle. Following that, the mobile operators have to send them an SMS within four hours.

The regulator also defined what constituted such a failure.

“Call drops means a voice call which, after being successfully established, is interrupted prior to its normal completion – the cause of the early termination being within the network of the service provider.”

The watchdog said it had examined the representations of telecom operators who maintain that some issues like poor spectrum allocation and difficulties in setting up towers that were beyond their control and contributing to call drops.

It said it was for this reason that the authority has kept the compensatory mechanism simple so that the consumers understand the same easily, and the operators are able to implement it as well.

The effective date for call-drop compensation comes a day after the watchdog said doubled the penalty for poor quality service and said an operator will now be fined up to Rs 1 lakh for the first non-compliance of benchmarks in a quarter compared Rs 50,000 earlier.

It also said the non-compliance, benchmarked on some 15 parameters under technical and customer care categories, in two or more consecutive quarters will result in a penalty up to Rs 1.5 lakh and a fine up to Rs 2 lakh.

If the telecom operators do not meet the benchmarks, companies like Airtel, Reliance and Idea could end up paying around Rs 2.3 crore, Rs 1.9 crore and Rs 80 lakh respectively, taking into account a scenario that only 10 percent of their subscriber base face only one call drop a day.

Airtel, Reliance and Idea have 23.29 crore, 10.99 crore and 8.33 crore subscribers respectively.

(IANS)