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|May 5, 1998||
DoT may keep tabs on mobile users
The Department of Telecommunications wants to keep a check on the number of people subscribers using mobile phones in cities. And, no, it has nothing to do with helping the income tax department find evaders.
This step is actually being considered in preparation for the time the new licence plan comes into effect later this year.
But the DoT is yet to decide whether it will demand a share of rental and air-time revenue from cellular operators. If the DoT decides cellular operators have to cough up, it could charge them up to Rs 602,000 for every 100
According to the cellular operators, the eight metro operators would have to pay around Rs 3.3 billion as licence fee for the fourth year, five time what they have to pay in the third year, 600 million. And actuals would be higher as the base is constantly expanding.
The DoT wants to find the number of subscribers because its earnings depend on this number. But the method of verification is yet to be finalised, billing data, switch information and traffic being possible ways to calibrate the number. But none of these methods provide a foolproof method of monitoring, depending on irregular audits.
The DoT could either waive or defer the right to a share of revenue though a decision would be taken only after consultation with all the affected parties. But all this awaits a review of the cellular industry being conducted by the Bureau of Industrial Costs and Prices.
Also being considered is the option that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India only stipulate a ceiling for call rates, allowing operators to offer customers lower rates. But with a high licence fee attached, a drop in rates is unlikely.
-Compiled from the Indian media
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