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4G technology on priority list, says Trai boss

May 15, 2009 11:18 IST
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Just a few hours after taking charge as the new chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), J S Sarma talked to Ishita Russell on the road map for the regulator in a complicated telecom world. Excerpts:

What is your main agenda as you take over as the Trai chairman?

The very objective of Trai is to ensure orderly growth of the telecom sector. So, that being the case, I would be looking at how to ensure this growth is sustained, and increased if possible.

To achieve increased growth, there are a lot of issues that we need to look into. Issues relating to spectrum management are very important and need attention. We will have to ensure how quickly we are able to make data services available to the masses. Another aspect that is crucial is to see that telecom is no longer urban centric.

Another priority is to prepare the country for the fourth generation (4G) technology. It will not only improve teledensity and improve data services, but also ensure that the country is prepared for all the future developments. Lastly, we need to maintain and increase investor confidence, so that there is a lot of potential for future investments.

What are your plans for the broadcasting sector?

On the broadcasting side, there are areas where there are disputes. We need to minimise these disputes. Also, we have to address issues on convergence - to increase convergence between telecom and broadcasting in terms of connectivity and, particularly, delivery.

What can the consumer expect with your tenure?

We need to look at consumer satisfaction in all aspects. I was discussing with my officers as to what would ultimately benefit the common man. The common man is interested in a good quality service, then in getting it at a reasonable price and lastly, a hassle-free billing system for the service. If a consumer wants broadband, then he should be able to get broadband at a reasonable price and at high speeds.

There are doubts about what would be the fate of the decisions taken by you while in TDSAT?

I don't see any problem areas there. I have already told my officers that if there is any judgment to which I have been a signatory and if they feel they need to appeal, all those decisions they can take up themselves. There would be only 5-6 cases like this, but if they feel that they would like to appeal then they should do so. In fact, that is the first thing I told them: if they feel there is a matter of dispute then those files need not come to me, they should take the decision themselves.

There have been public and open conflicts between the DoT and Trai. What are your views, given that you have seen both sidesĀ  now?

I don't see why there should be any conflict situation. I don't want to comment on what has happened in the past. The spheres of activity are very clearly drawn - we make a recommendation and whether the government wants to accept it or not is up to it, it is laid down in the Act very clearly. I don't anticipate at this point of time any problems in our working relationship. I can't put an agenda and a framework of how this would be done. The best thing is to take each day as it comes.

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