The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) said that the new telecom policy, which is in drafting stage should create a level playing field for competing technologies, should provide an advance roadmap to spectrum auctions and reduced levies to improve the ease of business in the telecom industry.
While highlighting the archaic licensing rules under 1885 Act, COAI has put forward 11-point proposal to the department of telecommunications seeking for a revamped regulations covering certain aspects like net neutrality, cloud and Internet of Things, and advanced technologies that are sweeping the telecom industry. The new policy should allow operators to embrace the emerging technologies like machine to machine (M2M) and 5G.
“There should be a same-service-same-rules principle. If such players (Whatsapp, Skype, etc.) are deregulated, then deregulate us as well. If they are offering voice too, why is it that only mobile operators are paying levies like license fee and spectrum charge?” Mathews said.
The association also suggested that spectrum usage charges should be reduced to 1% from current 1-5% and license fee should be reduced to 3% from 8% to improve the state of affairs in the debt-ridden telecom industry.
Speaking to Economic Times (ET), COAI Director General Rajan Mathews advised that Government should define the spectrum usage considering the growing demand and increased utilization by the consumers.
COAI advised that Government should make reforms to make sure internet Broadband connection is available to 70 percent of the population and increase the speeds upto 100 Mbps by 2020.
The draft policy is expected to be ready by December and should be rolled out in March 2018. The Government is taking opinions from all the stakeholders including public to make sure the policy fills loopholes in the current system.