India may clip telco regulator's powers on license enforcement

India's department of telecommunications is looking at taking over some powers of sector regulator TRAI, including the monitoring of service quality and parameters for telecom network.

India's telecommunications department (DoT) is considering clipping some powers of sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on framing license guidelines and enforcement of license terms and conditions.

Citing unnamed sources, The Economic Times reported Tuesday that a DoT internal committee, working on the TRAI Act Amendment, proposed the department should be the one organization carrying out the task of enforcing license terms and conditions, such as monitoring of quality of service and parameters for telecom networks.

The sources said the committee recommended making changes to the TRAI Act which empowers the regulator to make recommendations for revocation of licenses due to non-compliance of the license terms and conditions.

The report noted on Jan. 2 TRAI recommended, among others, the 2G licenses set to be given to the telco winners of last November's 2G spectrum auction be subject to cancelation after the fourth major violation. This recommendation from TRAI contained certain points that were different from what DoT committed in the legally binding document, 'Notice Inviting Application', to bidders at the auction.

Currently, TRAI lays down the standards telcos need to follow in providing services to consumers, and also monitors deficiencies in areas such as calls, Internet speeds and cunsumerr compliant redressals.

Sources said the internal committee viewed that TRAI can recommend quality of service and network parameters. However it deemed the task of measurement of quality of services and network parameters as something to be done by the DoT, and can be removed as one of the functions specifically mentioned in TRAI Act 2000.

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