The DoT has issued long-awaited migration guidelines which pave way for Internet service providers (ISP) like Reliance Jio Infocomm and Tikona, that have BWA spectrum, to offer mobile telephony service by paying an extra fee of Rs 1,658.57 crore (Rs 16.58 billion).
According to the guidelines, "for migration of ISPs with BWA spectrum to Unified Licence" for offering voice call services, "an additional fee equal to the difference between the entry fee for UASL" (old licences) would have to be paid.
The additional fee payable by companies, that own Wireless Broadband Spectrum (BWA) being used for 4G services but have ISP licence, comes out to be Rs 1,658.57 crore excluding fees payable for Unified Licences for pan India, according to the guidelines.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance group company Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel's subsidiary Wireless Business Services are already in the process of testing Internet based calls on mobile networks.
Government put in place new Unified Licence (UL) regime early this month with am aim to free players from limitations on use of technology for services and allow them to take benefits under the new sectoral policy.
All telecom service providers will have to gradually move to ULs after expiry of their licences for continuing services. Government has also given option to existing players to migrate to UL before expiry of their licence where there the fee for remaining duration of their permit will be adjusted.
Telecom operators will have to migrate to UL from their existing licence if they want to take benefit under new licensing regime like spectrum sharing or looking to acquire another service provider.