13 April, 2021

Impaired Mobility

The SC has put brakes on the WLL juggernaut. But cellphone operators can still lose the plot.More Coverage

Impaired Mobility
On December 17, a bare 11 days before Reliance Infocomm's planned nationwide launch of its limited mobility phone services, a Supreme Court judgement seems to have put a spanner in the works. Or has it? Why are both the parties in the dispute, the cellular service providers and the limited mobility service providers, claiming the judgement as their victory?

But first a simple guide to the dispute for the rest of us. For whichever way it's resolved, it will have a massive impact on India's telecom industry, and also on the average phone subscriber's wallet. No one with a phone will be left untouched.

The National Telecom Policy of 1999, the last one we had, specified two types of phone services: fixed and mobile. At some point of time, several fixed service providers figured out that using a technology called wireless in local loop (WLL), your fixed phone could be turned into a mobile. That is, you could carry around a handset which you could use within the area in which this fixed phone provider was offering its services. Thus was born the concept of "limited...
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