The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman RS Sharma reportedly said that the regulator is in the process of examining BSNL’s limited fixed-mobile telephony services following objections raised by the GSM telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
As per media reports, Sharma said that the regulator had asked state-run telco BSNL for certain clarifications with a view to understanding the entire architecture of the limited FMT service. The regulator will come up with its decision on the matter soon.
India’s top telecom operators through their industry body COAI had approached the Trai against the limited fixed-mobile telephony services by BSNL. The COAI had claimed that the LFMT service by the state-run telecom operator flouts licence norms and evades interconnect charges.
The body also said that the service also “runs afoul of the national numbering plan.” Reliance Jio Infocomm, which is also a member of the industry association, held a different view on the matter, COAI said.
BSNL’s limited fixed-mobile telephony is an app-based calling service that virtually turns mobiles into cordless phones working in sync with landlines to make and receive calls within home premises. The limited FMT service can be availed as add-on service, and separate telephone number will be provided to a customer to avail this service. Limited FMT call charges will be as applicable for basic service.
The services allow customers to make and receive calls while connected to a BSNL broadband modem by downloading the app onto their smartphones. The smartphone needs to download the app, and with connectivity with BSNL broadband modem (say on N-H), the customer can receive and also be able to make outgoing calls on smartphone handsets. This service is in no way linked with mobile operator service or customer SIM in the mobile handset.
The state-run telecom operator had said that its latest app-based limited FMT calling service was “different” from its previous FMT service, which it had been forced to put on hold following stiff opposition from mobile phone companies.
COAI had however alleged that although the new service was being marketed as “distinct”, it is “in-principle same version of their Fixed Mobile Telephony (FMT) services” which was launched last year but subsequently withdrawn.