The union cabinet today cleared the National Telecom Policy 2012, which among other things proposes to eliminate the ubiquitous 'roaming charges' where customers have to pay more for making calls while travelling. It also proposes to simplify mobile number portability (MNP), allowing a user to change his telecom operator while retaining the original phone number.
Although MNP was officially introduced well over a year back, the process remains so cumbersome that few users have made use of the facility, even though they may be dissatisfied with their present mobile service provider.
Telecommunications minister Kapil Sibal announced after the cabinet meeting that in all five changes were made in the original proposals, with the aim of providing mobile number portability and free roaming throughout the country.
However, he refused to provide a timeline for its implementation, saying these were only targets so far.
Customers cannot expect roaming charges to be abolished or number portability simplified in a hurry, as the department of telecommunications will have to work out modalities of the new schemes before they can be implemented.
Under the new policy, broadband speed has been increased to a minimum of 2 megabit per second (mbps). This change will come into force with immediate effect.