Cellular Telephony in India 2003

Jan 01, 2003

    • January 2
    • Cellular industry slashes STD rates by 67% on Mobile-to-Mobile (M2M) calls beyond 200 kms. Cellular consumers to pay airtime + a flat STD charge of Rs. 2.99 per minute for calls for M2M calls anywhere to anywhere in India.
    • January 7
    • BSNL slashes STD rates for over 500 kms to Rs. 4.8 (including airtime) per min for from its cellular network CellOne to any other cellular phone or a fixed line in the country. MTNL's STD rates for M2M calls for all distances above 50 kms is Rs.2.9+ airtime per minute. Roaming charges waived off for cellular subscribers between the two telcos.
    • January 22
    • Cellular industry announces Mobile-to-Mobile (M2M) incoming free on GSM cellular phones all over the country.
    • January 24
    • TRAI's issues "Telecommunication Tariff (Twenty Fourth Amendment) Order, 2003 (1 of 2003) The highlights of the Order are :-
      - Local call tariffs to be charged at Rs. 1.20 for 2-min call instead of Rs. 1.20 for 3 min call.
      - Calls from fixed to cellular to be charged at Rs. 1.20 for 90-seconds in Metros and Rs. 1.20 per minute in Circles.
      - Calls from fixed to WLL (M) phones to be charged at Rs. 1.20 for 2-minute call similar to fixed calls.
      - There is to forbearance on WLL (M) tariffs.
      - The definition of rural & urban subscribers is changed to align it with the operational criterion of for USO programme and the license terms. Thus rural subscribers are subscribers residing in rural SDCAs while urban subscribers are subscribers residing in semi-urban & urban SDCAs as defined in the new FSP Licenses.
    • February 10
    • COAI files an application in TDSAT objecting to the provision of WLL (M) services outside the SDCA by Tata Teleservices and the advertisement of roaming facilities by Reliance Infocomm, both of which services are prohibited under WLL (M).
    • February 14
    • Cellular operators & Fixed Service operators meet Minister of Communications to discuss subsisting issues confronting the industry. The issue of WLL (M) dominates the discussions. A joint industry Committee is set up comprising of representatives from the fixed & cellular sector, chaired by Secretary DoT, to try & resolve the issue.
    • February 20
    • TRAI forwards its recommendations to DoT on the Issue of Fresh Licenses to Cellular Mobile Service Providers (CMSPs).

      In its letter TRAI opines that the twin objectives of increasing competition and improving the quality, coverage and price-efficiency of the service will have to be achieved so that the larger objective of providing quality services at affordable prices is not jeopardized.

      TRAI also reiterated its earlier recommendation that additional spectrum, if available, should be given to the existing operators to enable them to provide service in a more cost effective manner.

      TRAI concluded by stating that in respect of the cellular mobile services there has to be a clear view on the quantum of additional spectrum which could be allocated to GSM Cellular services and that the induction of additional mobile service providers in various service areas can be considered if there is adequate availability of spectrum for the existing service providers as well as for the new players, if permitted.

      http://www.trai.gov.in/recom letter vaish.htm
      (Read Recommendations)http://www.trai.gov.in/recom Annexure.htm(Annexure)
      (extracts of NFAP-2002)
    • February 24
    • COAI appeals to TDSAT against TRAI's Tariff Order (24th Amendment) and the TRAI Interconnection Usage Charges (IUC) Regulations issued on January 24, 2003.The scope of appeal is limited to :

      TTO - prescription of Forbearance on WLL (M) tariffs

      Prescription of a higher tariff for fixed to cellular calls vis-à-vis fixed to WLL (M) calls.

      IUC - prescription of unrealistically low termination charges for calls terminating on cellular networks at a fraction of the cost determined by the Authority itself six months previously and the cost details submitted by the operators.

      Anomalies in different termination charges prescribed by TRAIGrievances regarding methodology, calculations, assumptions etc
    • March 4
    • Supreme Court dismisses the Government appeal against the TDSAT judgment in the matter of refund of interest on license fee dues. The migration package offered to existing licensees to transit to NTP-99 also allowed for a notional extension of effective date of license by six months. The dispute in this matter related to the payment of interest. It was the stand of the cellular operators that when the effective date of license has been extended by six months, the interest will have to be calculated from the extended date and not the original date as unless the license fee becomes due, the issue of interest would not arise. The Government on the other hand was of the view that the notional extension of effective date was only for the purpose of the payment of principal license fee & not the interest accrued thereupon.The Supreme Court judgment states, "this [Government] argument baffles all logic. The license fee becomes due and payable from the effective date. When the effective date stood postponed by a period of six months then that is the date from which the license fee will have to be reckoned and appropriate calculations made both for the purpose of license fee and interest. Unless the license fee becomes due the question of payment of interest will not arise."The Judgment amends the TDSAT Order to the extent that the excess amounts that have to be refunded to the cellular operators would be adjusted against outstandings or future dues and the balance if any, would be refunded at the relevant bank rates.
    • March 10
    • In the matter of WLL (M) being reviewed by TDSAT, COAI requests Government to disclose several material documents which are reflected in the proceedings filed but which have not been produced on record. These include:
      • The third reference made by DoT to TRAI in March 2000.
      • The clarification of the Central Government denying permission to FSPs to use handheld terminals as well as the application for such permission.
      • The proposals of ABTO, CII and ASSOCHAM asking for full mobility for FSPs.
      • The recommendations of the Telecom commission regarding use of handheld terminals in local area / SDCA.
      • The decision of the Central Government to permit use of handheld terminals with full mobility.
      • Government decision of January 24, 2001to allow WLL(M) to FSPs.
    • March 12
    • TRAI's issues "Telecommunication Tariff (Twenty Fifth Amendment) Order, 2003 (2 of 2003). The Order :- Reverted back to the definition of rural and urban subscribers existing prior to the 24th Amendment to the TTO, which was consistent with definition used in conducting the Census of India. This was done because the new definition in the 24th Amendment rural subscribers residing in SDCAs not specified as rural by the FSP license would get excluded from the low rentals/call charges which would be available to them in terms of the earlier definition.- Specified Peak and off-peak hours from 8pm to 8am for service providers to offer concessional rates for Dial up Access to the Internet.
      http://www.trai.gov.in/25th Amendment.htm
    • March 27
    • TRAI's issues "Telecommunication Tariff (Twenty Sixth Amendment) Order, 2003 (2 of 2003). The amendment defers the introduction of the new tariffs as per the Telecommunication Tariff (24th Amendment) Order, 2003 from April 1, 2003 to May 1, 2003.The Amendment requires all service providers to provide their tariff plans to the Authority in conformity with the 24Th Amendment to TTO & IUC regulation by April 3, 2003 for implementation on May 1, 2003.Simultaneously, TRAI issues the Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges (IUC) (First Amendment)) Regulation, 2003 (2 of 2003). In the amendment, the date of effect of actual implementation of IUC is postponed to May 1, 2003.The Amendment requires that all revenue sharing agreements, which are in line with the IUC Regulation, will now need to be filed with the Authority by May 16, 2003.The Amendment also states that the Twenty Sixth Tariff Order and the IUC Regulation should be implemented together.
      http://www.trai.gov.in/26th Amendment.htm
    • April 7
    • Government files affidavit in TDSAT claiming privilege of select documents of which disclosure had been sought by COAI to facilitate the proper adjudication of the WLL (M) dispute. These documents are :· The recommendations of the Telecom Commission regarding use of handheld terminals in local area / SDCA· The decision of the Central Government to permit use of handheld terminals with full mobility· Government decision of January 24, 2001to allow WLL(M) to FSPs.Government claimed that the contents of these documents were already substantially in the public domain. The Government further claimed that these documents belonged to a class of unpublished documents relating to affairs of the state, including minutes of discussion of heads of departments, and government policy matters and that these should not be disclosed · To secure proper functioning of public service &.· As public interest would be injured by their disclosureHowever, the Government agreed to furnish the said documents for the perusal of the TDSAT.
    • April 8
    • TDSAT issues Order rejecting the Government's claim on privilege on disclosing select documents with regard to WLL (M) to cellular industry.The TDSAT Order notes that in a dispute between a Licensor and Licensee where allegations of extraneous considerations had been made with reference to the facts on record, it was appropriate for the Government to rebut those allegations after producing the record and not to rely on the doctrine of privilege.The Order also opined that it was not clear how public interest was likely to suffer or get injured by disclosure of the documents.The Order states "the dispute here is between the licensee… and the Government as a Licensor withholding documents which may also injure the interest of the petitioner. In these days when private operations have come into the field and there is a conflict between the two different types of operators Government has to keep a neutral stand and when there is a challenge that Government has violated the code neutrality it is appropriate that the documents are brought on record to justify the action of the Government."
    • April 11
    • BSNL announces new tariffs for its fixed services in the light of TRAI's Telecom Tariff Order (24th Amendment) with seven alternate tariff packages. In all the alternate plans, BSNL retains an 180 second pulse for fixed to fixed calls (as against 120 second pulse prescribed by TRAI) and uniformly reduces the pulse to 90 seconds for all fixed to WLL (M) calls and to 60 and 30 seconds for all fixed to cellular calls in Metros & Circles respectively. This means that a 3-minute local call will cost · Rs. 1.20 for fixed to fixed calls· Rs. 2.40 for fixed to WLL (M) calls· Rs. 3.60 for fixed to cellular in Metros · Rs. 7.20 for fixed to cellular in CirclesThe new tariffs are to come to effect from May 1, 2003 and all existing customers will be automatically migrated to the Alternate Plan Tariff (and not the standard prescribed by TRAI)
    • April 17
    • Government appeals in Supreme Court against TDSAT Order of April 8, 2003, which rejected the privilege plea of the Government relating to select documents to be disclosed by the Government for the proper adjudication of the dispute on WLL (M).
    • April 23
    • In the matter of BSNL's Appeal against Clause 2.2 of the TRAI Tariff Order (23rd Amendment), council of BSNL make commitment in TDSAT that the company will not indulge in cross subsidy.
    • April 25
    • TRAI notifies 27th Amendment to the Telecommunication Tariff Order (TTO) specifying uniform applicability of the provisions of the reporting requirement of the tariff plans with the Authority for approval by all telecom service providers. The Amendment deletes the contentious Clause 2.2 introduced in the 23rd Amendment which, while prescribing forbearance for cellular mobile tariffs required multi-service operators in the same service area to file their tariffs for approval with TRAI 5 days before introducing the tariffs into the market. TRAI has now made it mandatory for all cellular operators to file their tariffs for the approval of TRAI at least 5 days before the introduction of these tariffs.
      http://www.trai.gov.in/27th Amendment.htm
    • April 25
    • Supreme Court admits the Appeal of the Government against the TDSAT Order rejecting Government's claim for privilege in the matter of certain documents related to WLL (M). The Appeal is admitted without prejudice to the right of the Respondents (cellular operators) to make all factual and legal submissions including their objection regarding the maintainability of the Appeal.Supreme Court provides that the Tribunal may proceed with the hearings in the matter and may also ask the Government to file the record on which privilege is being claimed. However the Respondents would not ask for inspection of the files till the matter of privilege is decided by the Supreme Court. Supreme Court also grants the Respondents the liberty of raising the matter before the Hon'ble Chief Justice to expedite the hearing of the Appeal.
    • April 30
    • TRAI issues Consultation Note on IUC. The note was issued in order to come up with an interim solution to address certain inconsistencies in the long distance tariffs being offered by some operators vis-à-vis the IUC Regime notified by TRAI.
      http://www.trai.gov.in/Consultation Note on IUC30th.htm
    • May 6
    • COAI responds to TRAI Consultation Note on IUC of April 30, 2003. Submits that all tariffs approved by TRAI must be consistent with its IUC regime and any approach to the contrary would render the entire IUC exercise meaningless. In the context of the inconsistencies in the long distance tariffs, also submits that the concerned operator was not forced to announce below-cost tariffs & therefore the question of compensation / readjustment of loss between different categories such as origination, carriage and termination does not arise. COAI suggests that the best remedy was to revise the long distance tariffs of the concerned operator to make them IUC compliant.
    • May 15
    • TRAI Issues Consultation Paper 2003/1 on IUC Issues. The Consultation Paper sought feedback on various issues related to:
      • Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC)
      • The Access Deficit Charges (ADC)§ Tariffs§ Calling Party Pay (CPP)The
      Consultation Paper was necessitated by the feedback received by TRAI from various stakeholders who had expressed concerns on the IUC regime - especially with regard to anomalies, inconsistencies, sustainability etc.
    • May 21
    • Hearings conclude in TDSAT on WLL (M), Tribunal reserves judgment.
    • June 4
    • COAI responds to TRAI Consultation Paper No. 2003/1 on IUC Issues. The highlights of COAI's submissions are as below:
      • All tariffs must be consistent with IUC regime. Retail tariff ³ charges for Origination + Carriage + Termination (OCT)
      • No justification for fixed to WLL (M) calls being cheaper than fixed to cell calls - both competitive mobile services with identical IUC charges.
      • With introduction of IUC, no justification for separate port or set-up charges.d. TRAI has followed different approach for calculating IUC for fixed and cellular services.
      • No justification for higher termination charges for WLL (M) in Circles as WLL (M) is an SDCA based service & all calls to WLL (M) networks are carried only within an SDCA.
      • Several concerns on approach used for derivation of Access Deficit. g. TRAI may carry out more comprehensive analysis with help of independent experts to establish true scope & extent of Access Deficit.h. BSNL does not have an Access Deficit - its Annual Report shows surplus of Rs. 6,300 crores in 2001-02 & cumulative surplus of over Rs. 50,000 crores from 1991-92 to 2001-02
      • BSNL has consolidated accounts - its low revenue-high-cost activities are funded through surpluses from long distance revenues, etc.
      • Calculation of Access Deficit of BSNL must be adjusted for support from USO Fund & benefits received from Central Exchequer.
      • TRAI must play proactive role in regulating tariffs to ensure that pure-play operators do not fall victim to predatory / anti-competitive practices of dominant incumbent or vertically integrated operators.
      • TRAI has introduced IUC regime with free incoming calls & not a true CPP Regime. Internationally CPP regime has high premium (400-1200%) on mobility vis-à-vis a fixed to fixed calls & the share of mobile operator is far higher usually a 30:70 sharing between the fixed & mobile operator.
      • Both WLL (M) & cellular are substitutable mobile services - to have free incoming calls for WLL (M) & not for cellular would result in gross discrimination against both cellular subscribers and operators.
    • June 16
    • TRAI issues the Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges (IUC) (Second Amendment) Regulation, 2003 (3 of 2003) mandating that all revenue sharing agreements which have to conform to the IUC Regulation would be filed with TRAI latest by 30th June, 2003.
    • July 16
    • TRAI issues Directive regarding Interim Order for IUC. TRAI mandates that · Payment of IUC carrier and termination charges is to be made by the originating access provider and the residual retained by him after payment of due carrier and termination charges to the NLDO and the terminating network. · Access provider will have to file NLD tariffs till such time CAC/CPS is in place. · Since the tariff reduction has been caused by the access provider, his margin must bear the burden of reduction of tariffs and originating charges only must be reduced. The interim order is for a short period of time & will be replaced by a decision of TRAI following the completion of the larger IUC review.
      http://www.trai.gov.in/interiun order of iuc.html
    • July 23
    • Joint BSNL - COAI Coordination Committee Meeting to discuss the IUC Billing related issues.
    • August 1
    • TRAI issues guidelines specifying a tariff format for consumer information which should be published / advertised by telecom service providers for tariff plans. These guidelines are intended to help the consumer to be better aware of the overall financial expenditure incurred under any particular tariff package, and will also help the consumer to compare various tariff packages which are on offer.
    • August 4
    • TRAI issues an Addendum to its Consultation Paper on Unified Licensing for Basic and Cellular Services, stating that it will consider proposals to increase the ambit of unified licensing to include other telecom services.
    • August 8
    • TDSAT pronounces judgment on WLL (M)

      Chairman, TDSAT opines that the decision of the Government has been taken for extraneous considerations to confer undue benefits on the FSPS, declares the services illegal, directs revocation of licenses & setting aside of TRAI recommendations.

      Members, TDSAT, in a 2:1 majority uphold the service on the grounds that it is not prohibited under NTP-99, the licensor has the power to amend the license and that WLL (M) was different from cellular mobile services and therefore a non-substitutable service. Members however recognize that introduction of WLL (M) has caused disturbances, directs DoT / TRAI to take steps to correct the imbalances including impose an entry fee on WLL (M).
    • August 14
    • TRAI writes to DoT pursuant to TDSAT judgment of August 8, 2003 on WLL (M) Informs DoT that the WLL (M) operators are violating the spirit of the license and offering services outside the SDCA through multiple registration and call forwarding facilities. Advises DoT to issue the necessary clarifications or license amendments to prevent such violations.
    • August 18
    • DoT makes reference to TRAI on issues arising out of the TDSAT judgment dated August 8, 2004 on WLL (M). DoT asks TRAI to submit its recommendations on :
      • Additional entry fee payable by BSOs for providing WLL (M) Service.
      • Additional spectrum fee chargeable for the additional spectrum beyond 5 MHz for WLL (M) Service.
      • Relief to Cellular Mobile Operators with regard to Points of Interconnection between CMSPs and BSOs.
      • Increasing the retention of 5% Access Charge of CMSPs to a reasonable.
    • August 22
    • TRAI decides a time frame of 60 (Sixty) days within which service providers shall effect refund of the security deposit after adjustment of dues, if any, from the subscribers. TRAI also decides that the service providers shall pay an interest @ 10% per annum for the delayed period beyond 60 days.
    • September 10
    • Group of Ministers (GoM) is formed to look into telecom issues including Unified Licensing.
    • September 15
    • TRAI decides that Operators to Charge for Pre-paid Auto Roaming only after consent of subscriber.
    • September 22
    • Legal Advisor of DoT opines that the service differentiation of WLL (M) vis-à-vis cellular mobile services was part of the TDSAT Order and must be implemented.
    • September 23
    • TRAI issues Directive in respect of Publication of Tariffs for consumer information. TRAI directs all the telecom service providers to :
      • Strictly adhere to the FORMAT prescribed by TRAI in its guidelines dated 01.08.2003
      • For advertisement of tariff plans on hoardings, instead of using the FORMAT, it should be stated that “ information regarding financial implications may be obtained from the service provider’s website at www
      • The website of the service providers must cover the entire details of a tariff plan in the FORMAT prescribed for this purpose.These directives come into effect immediately.

      http://www.trai.gov.in/directives- 23 sep 2003.htm
    • September 27
    • TDSAT pronounces judgment on Use of MSCs in WLL (M).
      Chairman, TDSAT allows the Petition, categorically declares that MSCs cannot be used in WLL (M)
      Members, TDSAT, in a 2:1 majority, dismiss the Petition; hold that use of MSCs is not prohibited in the license. The highlights of the majority judgment are as below :
      • The reference to MSC in TRAI recommendations was an observation and not a categorical assertion/recommendation that WLL (M) should be allowed only if use of MSC by FSPs is expressly barred.
      • The issue of Access Network Protocol or technology or software to be used for WLL (M) was not posed as an issue for consultation & not discussed with stakeholders.
      • The expressions “V5.2” and “approved improved version” are independent. It is for the licensor to clarify the same in clear terms.
      • Introduction of WLL (M) has disturbed the level playing field vis-à-vis CMSPs
      • There is no hard evidence on steps taken by Licensor or TRAI to ensure conformance with Government decision dated 25.01.2001 [to introduce WLL (M)].
      • Licensor to go carefully into issue of technology & ensure that technology neutrality is not used as a subterfuge for poaching on each other’s licensed territories.
      • It is also necessary to state in categorical terms that “approved improved version with latest technology” has to conform to the WLL system.
      • As long as license agreements are service-specific, it is incumbent on the Licensor to ensure through specific and clear licensing conditions on the use of technology, interface, architecture etc., that a clear distinction is maintained between Cellular Mobile & WLL (M)
      • Government may also consider setting up a Task Force, consisting of independent technical experts for restricting limited mobility service to SDCA on WLL platform and enforcing all other parameters laid down in DoT of 25.01.2001 read with DoT letter of 22.08.2001 and the License Agreement. TRAI regulator should also be involved in this process. This exercise should preferably be completed within two months from the date of this Order and immediate steps should be taken thereafter to take follow up action.

    • October 21
    • Government issues Notification on Accounting Separation. In pursuance of sub-rule (1) of rule 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Service Providers (Maintenance of Books of Accounts and Other Documents) Rules 2002, the Central Government vide a gazette notification specifies that the books of accounts required to be kept and maintained by every service provider under the above referred rules, shall be maintained in the following manner, namely: -
      • Books of Accounts to reflect itemized original and current cost service-wise of fixed assets
      • Books of accounts and other documents to reflect service-wise itemized operational expenses
      • Register showing particulars, service wise, of subscribers
      • Books of accounts to reflect service-wise revenue
      • Books of accounts to reflect income from other sources
      • Support Books of accounts and other documents
    • October 27
    • TRAI submits recommendations on Issues arising out of TDSAT's Order of August 8, 2003. The highlights of the recommendations are as below :
      • No additional entry will be charged for WLL(M) in the following cases
        For old FSPs
        In circles, where there was no bid for the 4th CMSP license,
        In case of Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh where the new FSP has paid a higher entry fee than the 4th CMSP
        Cellular Operators Association of India 60
      • In other cases, additional Entry Fee for WLL(M) is as below :
        Delhi - Rs.69.75 crores
        Tamil Nadu + Chennai - Rs. 55.81 Crores
        Maharashtra + Mumbai Rs. 44.80 crores
        Punjab - Rs. 19.03 crores
        Karnataka - Rs. 3.6 Crores
        West Bengal + Kolkata - Rs. 28.07 crores
      • The issue of additional spectrum charges beyond 5MHZ will be dealt with separately
      • The issue of relief to CMSPs with regard to Points of Interconnection between CMSPs and BSOs can be decided only after TDSAT decides on the case in regard to BSNL/ MTNL’s RIO.
      • After the implementation of the IUC Regulation w.e.f. 1.5.2003, the issue of increasing the retention of 5% Access Charge by CMSPs has lost its relevance.

      http://www.trai.gov.in/covering letter tosec.pdf
      http://www.trai.gov.in/Final RECOMMENDATION_WLL(M)_27_OCT_2003.pdf
    • October 27
    • TRAI submits recommendations on Unified Licensing Regime. The highlights of the recommendations are as below:

      Full Unification to be achieved in a two-stage process. As a first step, access services to be immediately unified at the circle level and within six months full unification to be initiated for all services covering all geographical areas using any technology.
      Unified Licensing regime to be implemented through automatic Licensing / Authorization subject to notification to TRAI and compliance with published guidelines.
      Guidelines would be notified by the Licensor based on TRAI recommendations to include nominal entry fee, USO, etc. The charges for spectrum shall be determined separately.
      Under UASL:
      • Service providers may offer basic and/or cellular services using any technology.
      • Migrating BSOs required to offer WLL (M) for consumers, who so desire.
      • Existing operators can opt to migrate or continue under present regime.
      • Service Area to be as per service area of present CMSPs.
      • Entry fee to be equal to entry fee paid by 4th CMSP. BSOs to pay the difference of 4th CMSP entry fee and the entry fee paid by them. In service areas where there is no 4th CMSP, no extra entry fee would be charged migrating to UASL.
      • Reliance Infocomm has acted like a cellular operator right from the day of signing the license agreement and is liable to pay penal interest in addition to entry fee.
      • Rollout obligations & Performance Bank Guarantee to be as per 4th CMSP.
      • Migration to be on a voluntary basis and WLL(M) players who do not wish to migrate to full mobility only e required to pay entry fee determined for WLL(M).
      • Annual Revenue Share License Fee - 12%, 10%, 8% of AGR for category ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Circles respectively.
      • Spectrum related issues to be dealt with separately
      • Intra-circle Merger and Acquisition should be permitted. Guidelines for M&A shall be recommended separately.
      • Necessary that FDI limits to be the same for all telecom services.
      • Instead of more cellular operators it would be more appropriate to have more competition through Unified Licensing, which will be initiated after six months.
      • Introduction of additional mobile operators to be considered if there is adequate availability of spectrum. Additional players to come in through a multi-stage bidding process as was followed for 4th CMSP.

    • October 28
    • TRAI recommendations on Unified Access Licensing are accepted in toto by the DoT.
    • October 28
    • COAI files Appeal in Supreme Court against TDSAT judgment of August 8, 2003 on WLL (M)
    • October 29
    • TRAI issues the Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges Regulation, 2003 (4 of 2003), finalizing its review of the IUC and ADC regime. The main features of this regime are as follows:

      IUC Regime
      • Uniform termination charge of 30p/minute for all calls to access providers - fixed line, cellular & WLL (M).
      • Carriage charge for long distance calls to be as below:

        0-50kms – 20p/minute
        50-200km – 65p/minute
        200-500km – 90p/minute
        Over 500kms – Rs. 1.10/minute
      • Origination charges to be residual from tariff after payment of carriage and termination charges, plus the ADC amount.

      ADC Regime
      • ADC quantum revised downwards from Rs. 13,000 crores to Rs. 5,340 crores.
      • ADC charges to be imposed on a uniform basis & not on a differential basis For calls originating from fixed line, the originating network will be allowed to collect the ADC amount. For calls originating in non-fixed line and terminating in fixed network, the terminating network will have to be paid the ADC amount.
      • ADC to be funded from all calls, except fixed to fixed local and "0 to 50 kms." intra-circle calls, and intra-circle calls from cellular/WLL (M) to cellular/WLL(M).
      • For all intra-circle calls subject to ADC, an ADC amount of Rs. 0.30 per minute to be levied.
      • For inter-circle calls, ADC amounts are as follows:

        0-50 kms – 30p/ minute
        50 to 200 kms – 50p/minute
        Over 200 kms – 80p/minute
      • On ILD calls, ADC of Rs. 4.25/minute (outgoing and incoming) levied on all services.
      • Selement of the IUC/ADC amounts to be done on bulk basis.
      • ADC to be reviewed annually, over time, forward-looking LRIC model to be used.
      • ADC to be merged with USO regime in 3 to 5 years & ultimately phased out
      • With this IUC/ADC regime, TRAI also forbears with respect to the tariffs for basic service, except for the rural tariffs.
      • This IUC/ADC regime will be implemented from 1st December, 2003

      http://www.trai.gov.in/regulation 29th oct 2003.htm
    • October 30
    • Group of Ministers accept TRAI's recommendations for unification of fixed and cellular licenses.
    • October 31
    • Union Cabinet clears the recommendation of TRAI on unifying fixed and cellular services.
    • November 11
    • DoT issues guidelines for Unified Access Licensing. The broad Guidelines for the Unified Access Services License are :
      • Existing operators to have option to continue under present regime or migrate to new Unified Access Services License (UASL) in existing service areas, with existing allocated/ contracted spectrum.
      • License fee, service area, rollout obligations and performance bank guarantee under UAS License to be same as for 4th CMSP.
      • No additional spectrum will be allotted under migration to UASL.
      • CMSPs may also offer limited mobility facility within SDCA as permitted to BSOs at appropriate tariffs through home-zone operations, etc.
      • UAS licensees free to use any technology without restriction.
      • No additional entry fee to be charged from CMSPs for migration to UASL. For Basic Service Operators (BSOs), entry fee for migration to UAS License to be equal to entry fee paid by 4th CMSP for that Service Area or entry fee paid by the BSO, whichever is higher. While applying for migration to UASL, BSO to pay difference between the said entry fee for UASL and the entry fee already paid by it.
      • No additional entry fee to be paid by BSO for service area where no 4th CMSP had bid despite repeated attempts.
      • BSOs who do not wish to migrate to full mobility regime, to only pay the additional fee prescribed for WLL (M), with mobility confined strictly within SDCA
      • BSOs who were offering facilities of over the air activation/authentication of subscriber terminal outside the SDCA, use of same subscriber terminal in more than one SDCA; Multiple registration, temporary subscription facilities etc, shall in addition to the Entry Fee also pay a penalty from the date of their having signed the Basic Service License agreement.
      • Service Areas for UAS will be as per the existing CMSP Licenses.
      • Existing BSOs after migration to UASL will be required to offer limited mobility service also for such customers who so desire.

    • November 25
    • issues the Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges, (First Amendment) Regulation, 2003 (5 Of 2003). The Telecommunication IUC Regulation issued on 29th October, 2003 had initially envisaged the implementation of the revised IUC regime by 1.12.2003. However some of the service providers sought clarification on a number of issues relating to:

      IUC applicable for unified access services,Numbering, Routing, Point of Interconnections Carriage Charges Reconciliation issues +/- 10% negotiation in carriage charges beyond 50 Kms Calls between CMSPs (including BSNL) where direct connectivity has not yet been implemented. Implementation details from BSNL In view of the above, the date of implementation for the Telecommunication IUC Regulation, 2003 (4 of 2003) dated 29th October, 2003 will now be 15th December, 2003 and the service providers have to file with the Authority the amended interconnect agreement, in conformity with this Regulation latest by 31st December, 2003.
      http://www.trai.gov.in/notification-25th nov 2003.htm
    • December 6
    • COAI responds to TRAI Preliminary Consultation Paper No. 5/2003 on Unified Licensing. Highlights of COAI response are :
      • Ambit - All facilities & services should be permitted under one single unified telecom license.
      • Registration charges - Nominal, to cover only cost of issuing the license.
      • Existing Operators - Entry fee paid by existing operators should be divided into a registration charges & a separate fee for spectrum. Once registration charges are determined, existing operators must be equated around this benchmark & suitable adjustments must be made. In case of spectrum, no operator must be worse off in the new regime.
      • Spectrum Usage charges – to only cover costs of administration & regulation of this resource.
      • Service Area - a two-tier approach - circle-wise licensing and all India licensing.
      • Direct Inter-Circle Connectivity - should be permitted
      • USO - BSNL may be given the status of default USO operator
      • Annual license fee - only to cover USO levy & costs of administration & regulation
      • Competition Safeguards - TRAI ensure that no operator enjoys a regulatory advantage over another player. TRAI must rigorously implement and enforce effective competition safeguards and accounting separation
      • Numbering - if concept of WLL (M) is being abolished, then it may be desirable to go in for an LDCA based linked numbering scheme for fixed services. For cellular mobile service, the existing circle/MSC based numbering scheme should be continued.
      • Infrastructure sharing - must be both permitted as well as encouraged.
      • Migration - Existing licensees should have the option whether or not to migrate to ULR. However, it must be ensured that existing licensees are “no worse-off” under the new regime.
      • SMP - There should be special provisions for SMP Operators.
      • FDI Limit - should be unified at 74%.
    • December 12
    • TRAI issues the Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges (Second Amendment) Regulation, 2003 (6 Of 2003) providing that the date of effect for actual implementation of IUC shall be 1st January, 2004.
    • December 15
    • TRAI issues clarifications in respect of the various representations received from service providers regarding the implementation of “The Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges Regulation, 2003 (4 of 2003)
    • December 23
    • TRAI submits its recommendations on Numbering issues as a follow up of UAS license migration. TRAI recommends that the numbering scheme for :
      • Full mobility provided by BSOs who have migrated to UAS Licence should be at the same level as that of GSM Cellular & that of all UAS Licensees and that all UAS licensees should be directed to implement the Numbering changes within 15 days from the date of acceptance of TRAI Recommendations.
      • Limited mobility service provided by any service provider using any technology to be such that while following the existing numbering scheme for fixed services, the limited mobility service can be distinguished from fixed/ full mobility services by the customer with full ease. DoT to ensure that in the SDCA based Numbering Scheme currently in use, limited mobility service could be identified by analysis of first two digits of the Local Number within the SDCA.

      http://www.trai.gov.in/Final Reply UASL.pdf
    • December 24
    • Government announces relief package for Telecom Sector with effect from April 1, 2003. The measures include :
      • 2% reduction in revenue share across the board for all telecom operators, subject to the caveat that the revenue share percentage will not fall below 5% (the USO contribution.
      • A further 2% reduction in revenue share for the 1st and 2nd GSM operators in Circle service areas for a period of 4 years starting April 1, 2003, subject to the caveat that the revenue share percentage will not fall below 5% (the USO contribution). This reduction will not be applicable to Metros.
      • Permission for Intra-circle Mergers and Acquisitions, guidelines to be issued soon.
      • A joint request by Ministry of Finance & DoT to the Cabinet to consider raising the total FDI /FII limit to 74% with FII investment permitted upto 25% over and above the sectoral FDI cap of 49%.
      • Ministry will facilitate the restructuring of the high cost debt of cellular companies on a case-by-case basis and based on the viability of the proposed scheme.
    • December 24
    • COAI commits to withdraw its challenge to WLL (M).