Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today issued a consultation paper to initiate discussion on allowing subscribers of one telecom operator to choose another operator for making long distance (STD and ISD) calls.
TRAI has sought views of all stakeholders on 'carrier selection' that includes the possibility of allowing long-distance service providers to issue calling cards.
"When implemented, carrier selection offers customer the capability of selecting the long distance carrier for their STD/ISD calls. This would help the customer in selecting services provider best suited to their specific needs, particularly in terms of price and quality," TRAI said.
This is the second time TRAI has initiated a process to allow subscribers to choose service providers after the regulator consulted the industry in December 2001.
It could not be implemented then as state-owned BSNL was not ready to offer such facility. BSNL had also no proper billing system then. TRAI had then deferred implementation of carrier selection by all other service providers.
"A number of developments have taken place since the last consultation to make the environment quite different from what existed then," TRAI said, adding that all the service providers have become competitive in terms of both price and quality and they can now move to next stage of offering choice of operators to their customers.
''It has been seen that when telecommunications segment is opened up for competition, both incumbents and new entrants invest more, innovate and offer new services at lower prices. The competition forces them to expand into hitherto unserved markets and earn profits on volume and service quality rather than through high margins. In this situation of buyers' market, the customer gets the maximum benefit,'' TRAI said in the consultation paper.
''In India even though the long distance segment has been opened to competition and entry conditions have been considerably eased more needs to be done,'' it added.