License Offer to Message Services

The Center has released the draft of the new Telecom Bill (2022) hinting at further reforms in the telecom services sector. The draft of the Department of Telecom (DoT) also proposes to license Internet-based and OTT companies like WhatsApp, Zoom, and other telecom service providers for phone and messaging services. Likewise, the government will also waive various fees and fines for telecom and internet services. Exemption from media monitoring may not be available in some cases. Those interested should give their opinion on the draft bill by October 20.

Telecom services have changed radically with the help of modern technologies. Along with this, due to the tariff war, a part of the telecom industry has raised the demand of facing financial burden.

According to a section of the concerned circles, the significant thing in the new telecom bill is to consider internet-based phone or message service or OTT service as a telecom service. Now companies like Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, and Airtel involved in phone or message services have to get telecom licenses for them. But OTT companies don’t have to take it. Telecom companies raised demands in this regard.

Message Services
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In addition to the auction, spectrum allocation is also left open in the draft. The industry demanded reforms in various fees, charges, and penalties. To create an easy business environment for the expansion of the telecom business, it can give full or partial exemptions after examining the situation. There is even a proposal to relax the surveillance in the case of publishing news in the country. However, that exemption will not apply in special cases.

Various points in the draft

Satellite, OTT, and Internet-based services require a license.

• The government may grant partial exemption of fees or penalties to any telecom or internet service provider if it deems fit.

• News media messages to be printed in the country will be exempted from surveillance. However, in special cases (emergencies, protection of citizens, incitement to crime, security of the country’s sovereignty and integrity, and relations with friendly countries), the exemption will not apply.

• The government will take back the spectrum allocated to any company under insolvency proceedings if it fails to meet service, dues, or license conditions.

Exide will invest six thousand crores to build a new factory

Keeping an eye on the future growth of the electric vehicle market in the country, Kolkata’s Exide Industries has rushed to build a factory to manufacture ‘Lithium Ion Cell’, the main component of batteries used in them. The company plans to build the factory in Bangalore in two phases in the next 8-10 years. The investment is six thousand crores. The first phase is likely to be commissioned in 2024. Exide hopes to earn 10 to 12 thousand crore rupees after the factory starts working.

Exide has set up a factory in Gujarat in a joint venture with a Swiss company to manufacture lithium-ion battery ‘packs’ and ‘modules’. Their board approved the production of its key component ‘The Lithium Ion Cell’ last December.