The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will soon float a consultation paper on value added services (VAS) that include caller tunes, ringback tones and MMS, which are offered by various applications providers.
“We will bring out a consultation paper on VAS in next few days. We will see how to bring VAS into the active mainstream,” TRAI Chairman J. S. Sarma told reporters on the sidelines of the IAMAI India Digital Media Summit event.
Although Mr. Sarma did not elaborate on the areas that would be covered in consultations, they are likely to include the contentious issue of revenue-sharing between telcos and application providers.
VAS operators constantly complain that as they provide features, content and a wide range of services like ringer tunes to mobile operators for their customers in the absence of a proper regulatory structure, they don’t get adequate financial returns from telcos.
As for pushing broadband growth in the country, Mr. Sarma said TRAI will come up shortly with recommendations on the National Broadband Plan (NBP).
“As per the recommendations, all gram pachayats will be covered by 2012 and by 2013, all villages with more than 500 people will be covered (by broadband connectivity),” Mr. Sarma said.
“I think we would aim at more than 100 million subscribers by 2014 and this is other than wireless mobile broadband, which itself would expected to be more than 50 million,” he added.
On the issue of the difference between active subscriber base and the total reported figure by operators, Mr. Sarma said, “We have indicated what is the VLR figure as on September 30, 2010. Please note that it is the figure as on that date. The figure on a particular date does not mean that it need to be the same on another day, because it is the number of people who are actually accessing the network on a day, which may be different on another day.”
He said there was no allusion to inflating of subscribers numbers by operators in that data. “Nobody is saying that somebody has inflated the subscriber numbers. They are only saying the number of subscribers and the number of active subscribers on a particular day is different.”
Based on VLR figures, GSM mobile operators had hit out at their CDMA counterparts for inflating subscriber base numbers to demand more spectrum (radio waves), a charge that has been denied.