Govt of India favours 3G entry fee

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 14 June 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The Union Communication and IT Minister, Dayanidhi Maran, said that the Government was in favor of putting an entry fee for third generation (3G) services.

This comes a day after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued a consultation paper to discuss the pricing and allocation of 3G spectrums. Speaking at the sidelines of the GSM Association's conference to announce 2 billion mobile phones worldwide, Maran said that spectrum was a scarce resource and the Government has to make some money out of it.

“We want to make it very competitive and we do not want operators to sit over spectrum without using it. The Government will take a decision after TRAI comes out with its recommendations,” he said.

Commenting on this, Bharti Group’s Chairman and Managing Director, Sunil Mittal said, “To make 3G services affordable, there should be no separate entry fee for 3G. An entry price of any kind is also amortized over a period of time of the license. That's a levy the customer does not need. India must seamlessly migrate to 3G as Bangladesh and Pakistan have done, without any entry ticket.”

Maran also urged the GSM Association to impress upon operators across the world to bring down international roaming rates. A mobile user spends Rs 100 a minute on an average for making a call while roaming overseas.

The association also announced reaching two billion GSM-based mobile subscribers across the world. India has about 80 million GSM mobile users. Earlier during the conference Craig Ehrlich, Chairman, GSM Association, said, “This is the fastest growth of technology ever witnessed. While it took just 12 years for the industry to reach the first billion connections, the second billion has been achieved in just two-and-a-half years boosted by the phenomenal take-up of mobile in emerging markets such as India and China.”

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