India may force carriers to open networks

16 May 2007

(Economic Times via NewsEdge) India's Department of Telecom plans to make it mandatory for all operators to open their networks to roaming customers from other service providers after the introduction of 3G telecom services in India.

If implemented, private cellular operators will be largest beneficiaries as they will be roam on the extensive networks of state-owned BSNL.

This proposal will also enable 3G subscribers to roam on the existing 2G networks.

The move has been recommended by the internal committee of the department, which is studying telecom regulator's recommendations on the allotment and pricing of 3G spectrum.

The logic behind the proposal is that 'besides existing GSM and CDMA players, non-telecom companies and even non-Indian companies' will bid for 3G spectrum, when it is made available.

As the constraint of 3G spectrum will limit the number of players in this sector, and since it will also not be possible for these players to roll-out these services on a pan-India basis, their customers will therefore have to depend on the 2G networks of existing operators when on roaming, the department said.

Currently, all private operators share their network infrastructure and allow their customers to roam on the networks of competing service providers.

The committee recommendation gives private operators reasons to cheer as BSNL is the only telecom operator in India which does not share its infrastructure.

© 2007 The Economic Times

© 2007 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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