97.09% of the villages in India have been covered by the Village Public Telephones (VPTs). Apart from the 308.87 million connections provided in the rural areas, 576350 VPTs have been provided till 31.10.2011.
Policy Reforms and New Initiatives
For a dynamic sector, reforms are necessitated by dynamics of changes including technological innovations. The telecom sector in India has been witnessing a continuous process of reforms since 1991. During the recent years, various policy initiatives have been carried out to give boost to the sector. Major policy initiatives and milestones achieved in Telecom Sector include:
A Mobile Number Portability (MNP):
MNP was launched by the Prime Minister on January 20, 2011. The MNP service allows subscribers to retain their existing mobile telephone number even when they switch from one access service provider to another irrespective of mobile technology or from one technology to another technology of the same or any other access service provider within the same service area.
Implementation of MNP has not only given wider choices to the Indian subscribers but has also induced service providers to offer innovative, affordable and competitive traffic plans for the benefit of the masses. As on November 30, 2011, 19 million mobile customers have successfully ported their mobile numbers to the service providers’ of their choice.
B Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2010:
Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR) 2010 came into force on September 27, 2011. TCCCPR 2010 gives options to customers to exercise their preference, separate number for telemarketers starting with 140, easy registration of the telemarketers, sharing of database, blacklisting provisions, filtering of calls and SMS by service providers, effective complaint redressal system and financial disincentive on access providers.
In order to curb unsolicited commercial communication, which were a major cause of disturbance and inconvenience for telecom users, TRAI notified “Telecom Unsolicited Commercial Communication Regulations” in 2007, putting in place a framework for controlling unsolicited commercial communications. This regulation was further improved through two amendments in 2008. As a result of this regulation, the number of unsolicited calls decreased but the number of unsolicited SMS increased. The Indian telecom customer demanded more from TRAI, which led to enforcement of TCCCPR 2010.