TRAI for greater regional cooperation

Nripendra Misra, Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday said that TRAI will focus on greater regional cooperation and stronger focus on bridging the rural-urban divide . Nripendra Misra in his keynote address at India & South Asia Com, the market’s 11th annual event announced a number of initiatives for te telecom sector.

Misra highlighted the need to work towards bridging the divide that exists between rural and urban areas. He commended initiatives from industry associations on this subject, and regretted the lack of media coverage they attract. He also called for greater regional cooperation, particularly to reduce roaming charges, and to work on standardisation to ensure interoperability and mass production to reduce

The conference’s keynote session also included an address by TV Ramachandran, Director General of the Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI), who gave an overview o India’s mobile market. According to him, constant discussions between the country’s operators and its regulatory and government bodies and are helping the market to grow. In his view, the main growth opportunities in the region reside in reaching the rural markets, making the most of 3G opportunities, and increasing revenues from value added services by addressing India’s thirst for entertainment.

This last point was further highlighted by Abhay Savargaonkar, Senior Vice President for 3G at Bharti Airtel, who is expecting a revenue shift for operators from voice to data, for both value added services (“content will rule”, he said) and internet access.

Addressing a key aspect of rural growth, Anil Tandan, CTO of Idea Cellular, described the strategies for optimising CapEx and OpEx, and touched on the issue of infrastructure sharing, which was one of the key topics in the session. His thoughts were further discussed by a panel gathering two of the morning’s speakers around Umang Das, Managing Director of Spice Communications. The panellists commented on the benefits and best practices for outsourcing to improve operations and lower costs. The discussion again addressed infrastructure sharing. According to Mr Das, operators cannot afford to wait for regulators and governments to make the right decisions,which is why operators are getting together to produce recommendations to facilitate the process.

In the afternoon, the conference was divided into three separate streams, allowing participants to look in more depth into the major issues related to technology evolution, strategy and operations, and mobile content and VAS.

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