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Licensing norms for new telcos by Friday

September 03, 2012 17:44 IST

TelecomTelecom Commission is expected to finalise by Friday the guidelines for licences that are to be issued to new players that win spectrum in the auction which is due in November.

"By Friday, we expect that the final recommendation of telecom commission in respect of Unified Licences in all aspect that will be relevant for the purpose of the auction will be available," Telecom Commission Chairman and Secretary, Department of Telecom, R Chandrashekhar told reporters in New Delhi.

The new licences will do away with different kinds of permits that are issued to telecom companies for offering various services.

Like earlier licences for mobile services, the new licences will not have spectrum bundled with them.

He said the issue related to migration of licences of existing players and bringing telecom tower companies under the licensing regime will be decided at slightly later date.

"0ne of the views that was taken in today's meeting was that out of large set of recommendations, we should prioritise and focus on those aspects which require immediate decision in the context of the auctions," Chandrashekhar said.

Telecom Regulatory Authority, Trai, has proposed to bring telecom tower companies under the licensing regime and estimated that bringing IP-I (mainly telecom tower firms) under the licensing regime will fetch the government revenues of around Rs 1,900 crore (Rs 19 billion) per year.

The regulator has recommended bringing down foreign direct investment limit for infrastructure providers for telecom services to 74 per cent, from 100

per cent at present, within a period of three years after Unified Licensing regime comes into force.

The move had been opposed by firms operating in this segment.

"If some of the aspects which are not immediately required for the purpose of the auction but are required for the larger licensing regime then those could be considered further at a slightly later date after some more ground work is done," Chandrashekhar said.

He said aspects relating to type of licences that will be given to new players for their service areas, eligibility conditions, services allowed under the new licences as well as things like entry fee, financial bank guarantee and performance bank guarantee are expected to be finalised on Friday.

The regulator has also recommended to issue Unified Licences at three levels for National level, Service area level and District level.

Trai has suggested one-time, non-refundable entry fee of Rs 15 crore (Rs 150 million) for Unified Licence for nation-wide services and Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million) for each of the service areas, except for Jammu and Kashmir and the North East, where it will be Rs 50 lakhs (Rs 5 million) each.

For each District level Unified Licence, the regulator has suggested non-refundable entry fee of Rs 10 lakhs (Rs 1 million).

Earlier, Unified Access Services Licences were issued to mobile telephony providers for Rs 1,658 crore (Rs 16.58 billion) and were bundled with 4.4 Mhz spectrum.

The Unified Licences, however, will not have spectrum bundled with them.

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