Govt. approves NTP 2012; abolishes roaming charges, allows pan-India MNP

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Govt. approves NTP 2012; abolishes roaming charges, allows pan-India MNP

The Union cabinet has approved the National Telecom Policy 2012, which envisages a slew of initiatives, including free roaming across the country and inter-circle mobile number portability. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has been asked to start the procedures to implement the nationwide MNP system.

Implementation of the NTP 2012, however, may take some time, as DoT will first work out modalities of the new scheme before bringing it into effect. With the NTP 2012, the government aims to expand coverage of telecom services in rural area from the existing 35 percent to 100 percent by 2020. Under the NTP 2012, broadband speed has been increased to a minimum of 2Mbps – this one comes into force with immediate effect.

The government has also relaxed norms for Internet telephony. This will help subscribers to use the Internet to make local and STD calls to a landline or mobile number. Also, the move will help Internet Service Providers such as Reliance Industries to promote its nationwide fourth-generation mobile broadband spectrum.

The thrust areas of NTP - 2012 are:

• Repositioning of Mobile phone- as an instrument of empowerment

• Domestic Manufacturing- Making India a global hub

• Liberalisation of Spectrum- any Service in any Technology

• Simplification of Licensing regime- Unified Licensing, delinking of Spectrum from License, Online real time submission and processing

• Resale of Services

• Voice over Internet Protocol

• Cloud Computing, Next Generation Network including IPV6

“The policy seeks to provide a predictable and stable policy regime for a period of about ten years. Policy will be operationalised by bringing out detailed guidelines, as may be considered appropriate, from time to time. Implementation will enable smooth implementation of the policies for providing an efficient telecommunication infrastructure taking into account the primary objective of maximizing public good by empowering the people of India,” says the NTP 2012.

The biggest gainer from the NTP 2012 will be users who travel a lot. With roaming charges abolished, users will get free incoming calls and outgoing calls at local tariffs across the country. Also, the inter-circle MNP, will allow users to change operator, without changing the phone number, while shifting to other circle. Currently, MNP system is available only when user wants to change operator in the same circle.

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