01:26 am - Tuesday 22 August 2017

Telecom dept soon to release licence migration guidelines

By insightVAS - Wed Aug 07, 11:48 am

To shift the telecom service providers to the new Unified Licence regime, government will issue guidelines soon. The telecom players under the new regime need to purchase spectrum separately through the process of auction.

“We will issue it (licence migration guidelines) by end of this week,” said an official of Department of Telecommunications (DoT). 

Operators like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone would be given an option to migrate to new licence before it expires as their licences will be over in next year.

The government last week unveiled long awaited Unified Licence norms that provide for delinking of spectrum from operational permits and allows companies to offer services using any technology. The new licence regime will also allow companies to offer intra and inter-circle roaming but bars operations from acquiring subscribers in areas where they don’t own licence. 

All telecom companies will have to migrate to the new licencing regime upon expiry of their current permits. They will have to pay a licence fee of 8 percent of annual revenues from telecom services. The new guidelines are vital for companies like Reliance Jio Infocomm, Tikona, Qualcomm’s 4G venture (acquired by Airtel) that hold Internet service licences but are also keen on providing mobile telephony using airwaves they hold. 

According to a decision taken by the inter-ministerial Telecom Commission, companies which hold Wireless Broadband spectrum (BWA) and have Internet service provider licences can opt for Unified Licences and provide mobile telephony services by paying an additional fee of Rs 1,658 crore.

DoT last week issued guidelines and format for new telecom licences that will be issued to service provider from now onwards. The new licences allow telecom operators to provide services using any technology that is compliant with the standards approved by the Indian government or global bodies.

The new licences pave way for VoIP, Skype like services, by Indian operators that can allow customers to call any mobile from computers. At present many companies provide free VoIP calls.

Existing telecom players that are already into DTH business can take the benefit of new licence norms that allows providing of complete Internet services.

The new licences also allow telecom companies to share their active infrastructure with other operators which was not permitted under the previous regime.

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