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No further ban on bulk SMS, MMS
ITGD Bureau  | New Delhi, October 4, 2010 | Updated 19:44 IST
As the country has remained peaceful after the verdict on Ayodhya title suit, the government has decided not to extend the ban on the services of bulk SMSes and MMSes imposed till tonight.
The ban on bulk SMSes and MMSes, to check any propaganda post Ayodhya verdict, was first imposed on September 22 which was later extended till tonight, official sources said.
The Centre also decided to withdraw paramilitary forces kept in alert in various parts of the country as the country remained peaceful even four days after the Allahabad High Court order.
The 5,200 paramilitary force personnel sent to Uttar Pradesh is being withdrawn phase-wise and some of them are being sent to poll bound Bihar for deployment in election duties.
Besides, the forces kept in readiness at 16 places for quick deployment have been placed at ease.
- With PTI inputs

TRAI has again extended the date for Implementation of NDNC Registry

Trai has once more extended the date for implementation of 'National Do Not Call Registry' till March 21st due to the non-finalization on the number series for fixed phones. However, mobile subscribers are still up in arms at a sudden discontinuation of their vital SMS services since last weekend. For instance, according to a certain Sri Ram school circular, parents were informed that if their numbers were on the NDNC list, they would stop receiving school updates. Other customers complained that SMSes enlisting their banking transactions had been discontinued. This, despite the fact that educational institutions and financial institutions have been exempted from NDNC

TRAI has extended the date for the implementation of the SMS Spam Regulations to 21st March 2011, the third postponement so far: Initially planned to commence from 1st January 2011, the regulations were delayed indefinitely on 14th December 2010 as, apparently, the TRAI website for telemarketers to get the National Customer Preference Register (NCPR) was not ready; then it was delayed till February 1st 2011 after which it was extended till 1st March as the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) mandated the use of the number series ’140′instead of 70 for mobile telemarketers and a number series for telemarketers using basic phones was being decided upon. The DoT has still not allocated number series for fixed line telemarketers.

According to the TRAI’s Explanatory Memorandum, ” the matter has been taken up on urgent basis to allocate number series to telemarketers for fixed network. Access Providers have indicated that it will not be possible to provide all the resources to call centres from mobile network only due to high traffic originated from such call centres. It is expected that number series for telemarketing activities from fixed network will be allocated by DoT shortly. This new series will be required to be implemented by all Access Providers before allocation of resources to telemarketer. For this purpose time will be required by Access Providers to change the configuration in their system and test the new series.”

DAILY  NEWS> Thursday, Mar 3, 2011

TRAI, ministry split on qualifying criteria for TV channel owners

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which also regulates the broadcast media sector, has reiterated its earlier recommendation for a steep hike in qualifying criteria for launch of new TV channels. The ministry of information and broadcasting had sent back TRAI’s July 2010 recommendations to the telecom regulator expressing concern over the proposed increases in qualifying criteria.
The primary bone of contention is over the size of companies that should be allowed to start TV channels in the country. While the existing law, fixed five years ago, says the firm should have assets of at least Rs1.5 crore, TRAI had recommended raising it to Rs100 crore for news channels and Rs25 crore for non-news channels.

“Ministry is of the view that the net-worth requirement should not become so stiff so as to stifle the growth of independent and divergent sources of news and views which is the essence of a healthy democracy,” the I&B ministry said, while sending the recommendations back. Instead, it suggested Rs5 crore and Rs15 crore as the net-worth requirements for non-news and news channels.
The ministry also expressed concern that setting the bar as high as TRAI suggested would impact the viability of regional and language channels, which typically have lower running costs.
In response, the regulator has now asked the government to put the caps at Rs15 crore and Rs75 crore for the two types of channels. India has hundreds of so-called news channels, many of them started by political and business leaders anxious to gain political clout. In its latest missive, Trai said TV broadcasting should not be left to “non-serious” players.
“TV broadcasting has significant impact on the public mind space and it is important that non-serious operators be discouraged,” it said in response to the ministry’s letter. It pointed out that the Rs1.5 crore net-worth requirement is proportionate with the Rs15-20 crore per year required to run a non-news channel and Rs100-150 crore required to run a news national channel.
Both TRAI and the ministry had earlier agreed on not capping the total number of channels or stipulating the broadcasting technology to be used. The ministry is expected to take a final call on the matter in a few weeks.

The new norms will be applicable only to new applicants.

DoT wants cut in telecom levies

NEW DELHI: Reduction of telecom levies, the key demand of the industry, is back on the communication ministry's radar.

A telecoms department internal note, reviewed by ET, calls for rationalisation of levies to be among the top priorities for the communications ministry. The department is also set to approach the finance ministry for a reduction or even an exception on the 10.3% service tax that consumers are charged on their mobile and landline bills.

Indian telcos pay about 31% of their total revenues towards different forms of taxes , which is among the highest in the world, against the global average of 17%, according to both government and industry estimates. Any reduction in levies will be a boost for the ultra competitive 14-player telecoms market that has been fighting stagnant revenues and plunging profits over the last 18 months due to the savage price war. According to DoT officials, the first step towards lower levies will be a reduction in the licence fee, which could be implemented from January 2012.

Sector regulator Trai had in May 2010 suggested that the licence fee be reduced gradually over the next four years to 6%. The regulator said the move would allow the industry to save about 6,442 crore, while adding that Bharti Airtel would see savings to the tune of 1,996 crore, while for Vodafone, the reduced licence fee would give it a benefit of Rs 1,387 crore.

At present, mobile phone companies share between 6-10% of their revenues with the government - the licence fee is highest at 10% for the metros and category A regions, which include lucrative states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra among others.

In a separate development, Trai has initiated a study to the levies paid by mobile phone companies in India and benchmark it against other countries. It is not known if the telecoms department will use this input to rework the current tax structure for mobile phone companies.

Telecoms minister Kapil Sibal will also discuss the issue of a uniform licence fee with top executives of telecoms companies next month before seeking his ministry's approval to implement it, an official with direct knowledge of the development said.

Trai's proposal involved reduction of licence fee in metros from 10% currently to 9% in 2011-12, 8% in the year after, then 7% and finally at 6% in 2013-14.

In category A circles, where operators are currently pay 10%, Trai had suggested that this be reduced by 1% each year to be at 6% by 2014.

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