News Roundup: Telcos to Archive SMS for 6 months, Roaming Charges to go (?)

Lately, the Indian government is taking up the security issue quite seriously and the home ministry has asked all operators to store all text messages for six months, against the current practice where they are usually saved for just a couple of days.

“Indians send between 130 and 150 billion SMSes, or text messages, a month. Storing text messages will require operators to invest in data centres, and telcos fear that the government may soon extend demands for storing voice calls.” – ET

Roaming Charges to go(?)

In a great move for consumers, the government is mulling a decision to let go of roaming charges and consider the entire country as one region.

“The panel said that if the entire country could not be considered as a single circle, then the country can be divided into four regions. In this case, it will help consumers avoid roaming charges when traveling within a region like say the all the Southern states.” [source].

The roaming charges constitute around 10% of industry’s revenues.

Microsoft, Autodesk partnership [AICTE]

Microsoft and design software maker Autodesk Friday signed an agreement with the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to provide free software to over 10,000 engineering and architectural institutes in the country[source].

2G Scam

CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) has found out many discrepancies in the 2G spectrum (led by A Raja).

CAG has alleged that the policy was not transparent and that DoT had tipped off the firms in advance, as a result of which they had been able to arrange demand drafts worth Rs1,650 crore in 45 just minutes to obtain pan-India licences. Without the advance notice, it would not have been possible for the five firms to be among the first to file their applications, CAG said.

CAG has also taken objection to DoT’s decision to first “arbitrarily” advance the cut-off date for applications by a week from 1 October 2007 to 25 September 2007 and then to make it public only on the last date of issuing of letters of intent—10 January 2008  [source].

DoT May Approve Etisalat-Allianz Merger

The Telecom Ministry is likely to allow Etisalat DB Telecom (earlier known as Swan) to merge with Allianz Infratech , making it the first acquisition among new telecom operators who were given licences in 2008 [source].

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