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MIB issues provisional MSO licence to Reliance Jio

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MUMBAI: The wait is finally over for the Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio, as the company has finally got the provisional multi system operator (MSO) licence from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B). The licence was given on 17 June, 2015. 

While I&B Ministry sources refused to comment on giving any such provisional licence, a source from the company confirmed the news saying, “We got the provisional MSO licence on 17 June.” 

The telecom arm of Reliance Industries, Reliance Jio had applied for pan-India MSO licence in January 2015.

This comes soon after the I&B Ministry decided to give provisional licence to MSOs who had applied for licences to operate in phase III. It can be recalled that in October 2014, the Ministry had decided to do away with the system of granting provisional licences and only giving permanent licences in order to ensure that only serious players entered the phase III and IV markets. 

While, the Ministry had then said that it along with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will process the MSO security clearance within 90 days, the same has not been followed. This resulted in the I&B going back to granting provisional licences.

Through a notice on 11 June, 2015, the Ministry accepted the delay in granting of security clearance by the MHA and so asked the close to 700 MSO licence applicants to file their application in an affidavit. Through the affidavit, the applicants had to commit that they have no criminal cases pending against them, and that they will shut down if they are refused security clearance. 

“While we have got the provisional licence, now the MHA will come up with its guidelines, which we will need to follow to get the permanent licence. The reason that a provisional licence has been given is because the MHA was taking a lot of time to give security clearance,” said the source from the company.

It can be noted that two of the pioneers of Indian cable TV sector: K Jayaraman and SN Sharma have already joined Reliance Jio and will be spearheading its business in the country.  

Reliance Jio 4G rollout

In its recent annual general meeting, Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh D Ambani informed that the ambitious 4G project will launch in December 2015 and that 2016-17 would be the first full year of commercial operations for Jio.

After expending money to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore in acquiring spectrum rights across the country, the company is targeting to provide 4G services across India with an investment of more than Rs 70,000 crore.

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