Its been over a year now and somethings never change in Indian Telecom.
TRAI has been trying at best to assert itself. Economic Times reports that TRAI has issued directions that Communications ministry shouldn’t bypass it on tariffs. TRAI is the regulator- Department of Telecom treats its like its own fiefdom. No one knows how to keep both the parties happy. No change in this tug of war being played out for the past so many years. Plus of course it shows how opaque the operators are in terms of pricing the calls.
Reliance pays out money to BSNL-Rs 130 crore to be precise. This was because Reliance was caught “stealing” by showing inbound calls as local calls and thereby avoiding to pay Access Deficit Charge- a political hot potato. This marks the final payment to the PSU BSNL- though by no means the end of the story. If TRAI has its way, it wants to end ADC by the year 2009, depsite pressure from the DoT. I believe that the next round of legal wranglings may start off in the near future- BSNL wouldnt want to let go its cash cow just because TRAI says so. I quote:
“As part of a three-stage process, the ADC kitty will be reduced to Rs 5,600 crore in 2006-07, Rs 2,007 crore in 07-08, and then done away it.
ADC had already been withdrawn in most countries as it was found to be inefficient and anti-competitive”. Hopefully we shall soon realise it. This probably marks the deduction in the ADC component in a step wise manner.
TRAI moots the idea of a certifying body to vet billing. About time since billing is very chaotic and there is no degree of transparency at all.
However, as all the grand ideas fail, TRAI is asking the operators themselves to set up an audit committee! Meaning thereby, someone to look over the operators as they go about looting people!
“Mr Baijal, however, felt it would be ideal for the industry association to establish the certification agency. Further, on the billing audit, he said that the regulator is keen that the industry should set up an ombudsman, who will settle disputes including billing between the operator and the user.
Of course, we shall see the implementation soon Mr Baijal!
Some things never change.