The new regime will not have spectrum bundled with it
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday proposed a fee of Rs.20 crore for a national-level unified licence under the new regime, which suggests that there will be only four types of licence in future as against many across the communication sector at present.
The telecom regulator's draft guidelines for the new unified licensing regime said: “The entry fee for different types of unified licence shall be Rs.20 crore for national level, Rs.2 crore for each Metro and ‘A' category, Rs.1 crore for each B category, Rs.50 lakh for each C category service areas levels and Rs.15 lakh for each district level unified licence.” The draft guidelines have proposed three levels of unified licence — at national level, service area level and district level.
At present, telecom service providers hold Unified Access Service Licence (UASL), which authorises them to provide mobile, fixed line, Internet and long-distance calls and other telcom services.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) also issues standalone licences separately, like the one for offering Internet services that are generally known by the nature of the service being offered.
The UASL is given to companies with 4.4 Mhz spectrum bundled with it. TRAI has, however, recommended that the new licence regime will not have spectrum bundled with it and the operators will have to bid for the spectrum separately.
“Unified licence will be given without any spectrum. Licensee has to separately apply/bid for obtaining spectrum as per the prevailing policy,” the draft guidelines said. The regulator has also proposed to have no restriction on the number of players in a service area.
“Licence shall be issued on non exclusive basis, without any restriction on the number of entrants in a licence area,” the draft said.
These guidelines follows recommendations on ‘Spectrum Management and Licensing Framework', issued in May, 2010, in which the regulator had recommended that the future licences would not be bundled with spectrum. It has recommended that the licences to be issued would be a unified licence covering various access services, class licence covering VSAT services, licensing through authorisation and broadcasting licences.
TRAI has proposed that the applicant company will have to pay one time non-refundable entry fee before signing the license agreement.
TRAI has invited comments on these guidelines before January 31 before giving final recommendations. — PTI