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Policy Roundup: National Roaming, GSM-CDMA, CensusInfo, Patents, WCIT, Aakash Tablet


The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has announced that it would soon begin a public consultation process for implementation of free telecom roaming in the country, reports NDTV. Following the public consultation process, TRAI will make the final decision regarding free national roaming.

The free national roaming was announced as a part of the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012 that was approved in May this year. The report also claims that TRAI hopes to implement the free national roaming service by next year. Apart from the free national roaming, NTP 2012 also includes intra-circle mobile number portability, which will be implemented in the country by February 2013.

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The department of telecom (DoT) is considering the demand by telcos such as Idea, Airtel and Vodafone to allow GSM operators to bid for the unsold CDMA spectrum in the 800 MHz band, reports The Economic Times. Earlier this year, the 800 MHz CDMA band did not receive any bid from CMDA operators during the 2G auctions.

The report also states that if DoT allows GSM operators to bid for the 800 MHz band, which is currently allocated to the CDMA players, it will also realign the 800 MHz band to the 900 Mhz band as a part of its spectrum harmonization policy. If this happens, GSM operators will get access to the 800 MHz band which has greater reach than the band it is currently allocated. However, this would also be a huge blow to current CDMA operators such as Reliance Communication and Tata Teleservices. However, harmonization of spectrum with international standards would mean that mobile handset OEMs can bring a broader range of global handsets in the Indian market.

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The ministry of Home Affairs has announced that the CensusInfo India Software will be launched today.

The CensusInfo India Software is a flexible database software that can be used for the dissemination of population and housing census results. The software has been developed by the United Nations Statistics Division, in partnership with UNICEF and UNFPA. It will help countries disseminate their census results at any geographical level within the country.

The data will be made available on CDs and also on the web. CensusInfo India on houses, household amenities and assets based on Census 2011 data also provides access to the dataset on a number of indicators at State and District level. The user will also be able to extract this data and generate charts and maps depicting the data. The government hopes that this data dissemination tool will reduce the burden of statistical data.

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The ministry of Commerce and Industry has announced a comprehensive online Patent filing services on December 15, 2012. The newly launched services includes an up grade to the existing e-filing system to include the facility to file all the prescribed forms along with prescribed fees for registration of Patents. The web based system now allows dual way login through userid or through digital signature. The government claims that the service has also simplified the e-filing process and eliminates transaction errors. Apart from that, now users can manage personal folders in the Patent Office environment.

To file a patent, users need a Class III digital signature and an internet banking account for e-filing. Currently, the service supports payment gateway from banks such as SBI and Axis Bank, however, other payment gateways from other banks will be included in the near future.

Government claims that this year alone one third of the total patent applications received till the end of November, has been filed online.

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India has officially not signed the ITR in its current form at the WCIT 2012. However, the government notes that it supports the proposed ITRs and the Resolutions 1,2,4 and 5. Our detailed note here.

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IIT Bombay will develop a multi –lingual educational applications for various levels of education. Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, provided the information in the parliament. The application will be made available on the Aakash tablet that runs on opensource software such as Android.

The project is being implemented by IIT Bombay under the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) and aims to achieve — acquisition of 1,00,000 low cost access cum computing devices (LCADs) for teacher empowerment, test the devices, and perform hardware and software optimization on those LCADs.