`Ensure fixed wireless phones are on premises'

NEW DELHI, MARCH 24. The Government has ordered phone companies to ensure that fixed wireless service phones are confined to the subscribers' premises. Taking exception to people carrying fixed wireless handsets in cars and phone service companies advertising them as "Unlimited Cordless" and "Walky" services, the Department of Telecom (DoT) fixed the responsibility for complying with its directive.

Phone companies should come out with a separate numbering plan for fixed wireless phones and if this was not possible, they would have to pay interconnection usage charges as applicable to mobile companies.

Order welcomed

Cellular companies that had been lobbying with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and the DoT for such a ban welcomed the order. They had contended that "Walky" and "Unlimited Cordless" services offered the advantage of mobility and claimed the privilege of fixed services by collecting access deficit charges. Thus, these services, which could be used throughout the service area, were creating a non-level playing field, they said.

"The terminal used for fixed wireless services should be strictly confined to the premises of the subscriber where the telephone connection is registered. It should also be noted that it is the licensee's responsibility to ensure that the subscriber terminal is operated in accordance with the terms of the licence for fixed lines, including this clarification," said the order issued on Wednesday. "This is to further reiterate that a separate level within the allocated SDCA-based link numbering is to be used for wire line and fixed wireless services."

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