“The DoT (Department of Telecommunications) will take a call on SIM activation after reviewing security-related issues around it because the SIM will have to be delivered on the doorstep during the lockdown,” Mathews said.
COAI said that DoT Secretary Anshu Prakash in a meeting held earlier in the day reviewed preparedness of the industry to meet requirements of the public and assured to resolve issues related to the network.
“In taking stock of the performance of the networks over the past weeks of the quarantine, note was taken of the substantial support provided by the DoT to the industry to meet the challenges of the increased traffic load on the networks and the logistical issues involved in maintaining the uptime of the networks,” Mathews said.
The DoT noted that close working with industry led to reduction of “faulty” base stations were brought down from about 800 from before the quarantine to nearly 290.
“This was out of a total number of approximately 22 lakh BTSs (base transceiver station), nationwide. Similarly, the number of optical fibre cuts were reduced from approximately 100 per day from before the quarantine to approximately 19 fibre cuts during the past 15 days of the quarantine,” Mathews said.
According to the industry, DoT has also assured to follow up on removing GST from payment of licence fees (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC) as they are not a service.
The industry has also urged to exempt the levy of GST on licence fees, SUC and payment of spectrum acquired in auctions.
Telecom players have also sought exemption of service tax on the amount of LF/SUC payable by telecom operators in compliance with the Supreme Court order.
“We wish to assure the citizens, customers and the government that despite the precarious financial health, the industry will do everything in its power to ensure that its networks will continue to function as a vibrant, essential component of the nation’s economic and communications health and well-being,” Mathews said.
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