Telecom regulator, Trai in an effort to expand mobile telephony services in rural areas, has suggested that funds from the Universal Services Obligation be utilized to set up mobile charging centres in rural areas.
Considering the difficulties in the availability and reliability of electricity, even though the telecom infrastructure is developed, a need is felt to facilitate the charging of mobile handsets as this is the prime instrument for the mobile users.
As per Trai, even though on papers, 80 percent of the rural areas have access under electric power utility the frequent and long interruptions prove a dampener. States such as West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have more mobile coverage then electricity coverage.
Trai wants the USOF to be utilized in setting up mobile towers which run on solar power or consume less power. It has asked for subsidies to be extended to service providers who have set up mobile towers in rural areas.
The regulator has also asked for State level agencies to be involved in the process and has asked for amendment of the Indian Telegraph Act 1985.