Trai Seeks Views on In-Building Access by Telecom Operators

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Trai Seeks Views on In-Building Access by Telecom Operators
Highlights
  • Trai is seeking views on in-building network access by telcos.
  • It will deploy under reasonable terms and conditions.
  • In-building deployment is currently done via commercial agreements.
Regulator Trai Monday issued a consultation paper seeking stakeholders' views on evolving a framework for in-building facilities to enable telecom operators obtain efficient access on reasonable terms and conditions.

"It is implicit that telecom service providers (TSPs) would require an access inside the building to install the telecom infrastructure or lay their cables," Telecom Authority of India (Trai) said.

While many infrastructure related issues have been dealt with by the authority in the past, there are issues related to in-building access that are still faced by the telecom service providers and therefore, remain to be addressed, it added.

Apart from seeking views on whether the market is capable of taking care of these issues without any policy intervention, the paper is also aimed at knowing how sharing of telecom infrastructure inside a residential or commercial complex among service providers can be encouraged. Comments are invited by July 7 and counter-comments by July 14.

In-building deployment is currently done through commercial agreements between incumbent mobile operators and building owners, building developers or Resident Welfare Associations (RWA).

As such, the speed of deployment is often hindered by building owners/developers delaying the negotiations or requesting exorbitant rents.

"There is a requirement to evolve a framework applicable to in-building facilities to enable the telecom operators to obtain efficient access on reasonable terms and conditions.

Failure to share infrastructure would unreasonably restrict competition," it said.

Trai said telecom operators are often forced to enter into agreement at the terms set by the other party, as they cannot leave places like malls uncovered from their mobile network.

Also due to restricted access to premises, the resident of the building cannot avail services of the operator of his own choice and his preference is limited to the TSP(s) who could get the access to the building after entering into a commercial settlement with the builder.

"Such restrictive practices take away the choice and flexibility from consumers which otherwise they have in terms of quality of service (QoS), tariff, redundancy etc," Trai said.

It added that competition not only helps in controlling prices but also forces the service providers to offer/maintain good quality of service.

"Any situation which may take away such benefits of competition is certainly a cause of regulatory concern," it said.

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