Speaking at the annual flagship event organised by Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA) on September 14th, Union Minister for Telecommunications Ashwini Vaishnaw promised further reforms for the telecom sector and asked telecom service providers (TSPs) to work on improving their network quality by 3 to 4 times. The Union Minister focused on four major points during his address. Here's what he said: Licensing reforms next: “We’ve had three reforms in the past and this will be the fourth big reform”, the Union Minister said referring to licensing reforms. Although, he did not tell what exactly the reforms will constitute. What were the past three reforms? September 2021 reforms: The government ‘rationalised’ Adjusted Gross Revenues, Bank Guarantees, interest rates, and removed penalties, thus reducing regulatory burden on telecom service providers. The government also approved 100% FDI in the telecom sector under automatic route subject to safeguards. Wireless Planning and coordination reforms: Procurement of wireless equipment for TSPs has been simplified “on the basis of auto generated self declaration certificate.” Right of Way (RoW) reforms: The DoT amended the Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules, 2022 to streamline the process of rolling out infrastructure, especially for 5g services. Among other things, it made it easier for telcos to install small cells on ‘street furniture’. Installing small cells can help improve penetration of the 5G network. Legal backing for RoW: “The telecom bill will provide a legal backing to the RoW actions that we have done so far and the ones we want…
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