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Home > Business > PTI > Report

Trai recommends single licensing system

October 27, 2003 15:44 IST
Last Updated: October 27, 2003 18:37 IST

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Monday recommended a single licensing system, called unified licensing regime, for basic landline and cellular telephony services.

Trai suggested to the government replacement of the existing licensing regime, where cellular and wireless phone service providers pay different fees to provide telephony services, with a unified license under which both basic and cellular operators will be allowed to offer both type of services without the formality of acquiring a separate license.

Highlights of TRAI's recommendations

Unification of licenses to be done in two stages. Unified Access regime for basic and cellular services in the first phase; Unified Authorisation regime encompassing all telecom services in the second phase.

Fee paid by fourth cellular operator to be benchmark for migration of basic players to the new access regime.

Cellular operators not to pay any entry fee for migration to the Unifed access regime while basic operators to pay the differnce between fourth cellular operators licence fee and BSO fee already paid by them.

Reliance Infocomm required to pay Rs 1096 crore for migration in addition to penalty of Rs 485 crore proposed by TRAI for offering cellular type services.

Process of migration to the new regime to be voluntary.

No additional fee to be paid for circles where there is no fourth cellular operator.

"The existing operators would have an option to continue under the present licensing regime (with present terms and conditions) or migrate to the new unified access licensing regime in the existing circle," Trai said.

The license fee, service area, roll out obligation and performance bank guarantee under the new unified license regime will be the same as for the existing cellular service provider.

The service provider migrating to unified regime would continue to provide wireless services in already allocated spectrum and no additional spectrum would be allocated under the migrated process.

While cellular operators will not be required to pay any further license fee for migrating to the new regime, the entry fee for basic/WLL service providers would be the difference between the license fee paid by the fourth cellular operator in the circle and the charges already paid by them.

The present system of licensing should be replaced by unified licensing/automatic authorisation regime, Trai said.

The objective of this is to be achieved in a two-stage process with the unified access regime for basic and cellular services in the first phase to be followed by a process to define the guidelines and rules for fully unified license encompassing other telecom services like WLL.

Under the new access regime, Trai recommended that Reliance Infocomm should pay additional penalty over and above the entry fee for already offering mobility services almost similar to the cellular mobile services.

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