Telecom sector Current Affairs - 2019

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Telecom Ministry forms committee to spell out revival plans for Telecom sector

Acknowledging that country’s telecom industry was under financial stress, Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had constituted a committee chaired by Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan to spell out revival plans for Telecom sector.

About Aruna Sundararajan Committee

Background: As the Indian telecom sector is under stress for a long time Union Minister has decided to deal with this issue now on priority basis thus for this purpose he will be meeting all telcos ‘at the earliest’ to discuss various sectoral issues and also constituted Aruna Sundararajan Committee to look into entire issue of removing ambiguities in ease of doing business and also to revisit the whole issue of SUC.

Need: Reduction of levies and fees, such as licence fee, SUC and universal service levy, has been a long-standing demand of Telecom industry, along with review of definition of aggregated gross revenue and this will also be main focus areas of committe.

Purpose: To review levies, including spectrum usage charge (SUC), and promote Ease of Doing Business (EDB) in telecom sector.

Mandate:

The Committee headed by Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan would submit its report in 2 weeks’ time.

In case of any issues which require clarity, committee has been directed to seek views of Solicitor General.

Committee would also look into previous recommendations provided by sectoral regulator TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) on the issue.

Way Forward

The Government of India is also looking into revival plan for state-owned BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) and MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited) on priority and the details for that are being worked out.

Government exempts devices operating in low frequency range from licensing norms

Department of Telecom (DoT) has exempted wireless devices that operate in low frequency range like bluetooth, wireless chargers, internet-of-things (IoT) products, medical devices etc. from licensing requirement. The move aimed at facilitating ease of doing business for adoption of new technologies like IoT, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications both in industrial and consumer applications.

Key Facts

Henceforth, no licence will be required by any person to establish, maintain, work, possess or deal in any wireless equipment for purpose of usage of very low power radio frequency devices or equipments. It will be application for inductive applications in frequency bands of 302 to 435 KHz (kilohertz), 855 to 1050 KHz and 1.89 to 2.31 MHz on non-interference, non-protection and shared (non-exclusive) basis.

Department of Telecom (DoT)

It is nodal department of Ministry of Communications. It is headquartered in New Delhi. It is responsible for formulating developmental policies aimed at accelerating growth of telecommunication services in the country. It is also grants licenses for various telecom services like Unified Access Service Internet and VSAT service. It is also responsible for frequency management in field of radio communication in close coordination with international bodies. It also enforces wireless regulatory measures by monitoring wireless transmission of all users in the country.