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TRAI issues draft amendment to telecom interconnection regulations

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released draft amendments to the telecommunication interconnection regulations. Most amendments govern the point of interaction (POI) between different telcos. The draft is open for comments from stakeholders till May 18.

Some key amendments carried in the Draft Telecommunication Interconnection (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 are as follows:

  • A change in time period before a service provider can request for additional ports at a POI from previous 30 days to 60 days. The new rules have changed the projected utilisation capacity required to make such a request from earlier 60% to 85%.
  • The time-frame for provisioning of ports for initial interconnection and augmentation is proposed to be increased to maximum 42 working days.
  • The new amendment says that each service provider must give forecast of busy hour outgoing traffic for each POI to the interconnecting service provider every six months (or twice a year).
  • First such forecast has to be given within 60 days of the commencement of the amendment.
  • The port charges and infrastructure charges for all ports provided before the 1st February, 2018 will remain payable on the terms that were applicable before the 1st February, 2018.

The regulations for telecom interconnection were first released by the TRAI on January 1, 2018. These were to direct telcos to enter into an interconnection agreement on a “non-discriminatory basis” within 30 days of receiving connectivity request from another mobile operator. Others rules in the regulation govern setting up network connectivity agreements, seeking ports and augmenting Points of Interconnect, agreeing upon applicable setup and infrastructure charges, disconnection of ports and penalties for interconnection issues.

In October 2016, TRAI had started a consultation process on regulations for standard interconnect agreements. The rules issued on Monday are a result of that process. The issue of interconnectivity was a major bone of contention in 2016 between Reliance Jio and established telcos like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

Comments on the draft amendment are to be sent to kapilhanda@traLgov.in by 18th May, 2018.

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