TRAI Current Affairs
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved reappointment of Ram Sewak Sharma as chairperson of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for further period beyond August 2018 upto September 2020, i.e. date on which he attains age of 65 years. He was in July 2015 named as TRAI chief for three-year period.
Ram Sewak Sharma
Sharma is 1982 batch (retired) IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre. Prior to his appointment as TRAI chairman, he had worked in various government departments particularly dealing with IT-enabled programmes. He has also worked as Director General and Mission Director of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) or Aadhaar.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
TRAI is an independent regulator of telecommunications business in India. It was established in 1997 through Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. TRAI also fixes or revises the tariffs for telecom services in India. Its mission is to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in India to enable country to have leading role in emerging global information society. It also provides fair and transparent environment that promotes level playing field and facilitates fair competition in the market. It also regularly issues orders and directions on various subjects such as tariffs, quality of service, interconnections, Direct To Home (DTH) services and mobile number portability .
State-run telecom firm BSNL through its mobile app ‘Wings’ launched India’s first internet telephony service. Through this app, BSNL customers will be able to make calls to any phone number, domestic or international. Before this service, phone calls on mobile apps were possible within users of particular app (such as Whatsapp, Duo etc) and not on telephone numbers.
The Wings service will allow calls from mobile phone to any number, domestic or international using internet. It requires mobile data of any operator or wifi services. It will allow customers to make video or audio calls by paying fee and also send SMSs. This service will use mobile numbering scheme, provided using IP based access network of IMS NGN Core switches to allow users to make and receive calls over the Internet via their landline or mobile phone.
This comes after Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had refreshed VoIP guidelines in October 2017 and that was approved by Telecom Commission in May 2018. It allowed full-fledged internet telephony by telecom operators which will enable calls from app to app of licensed service providers as well as on phone numbers. It only allows authorised licensed holders to provide full-fledged internet telephony and not over-the-top players like Google Duo, WhatsApp that allow only app-to-app calling. In effect, telcos have been allowed to piggyback on each other’s data networks in case of voice calls over WiFi and these calls can terminate on mobile or landline networks.