TRAI issues fresh recommendations on unified licensing regime

NEW DELHI: In its new set of recommendations for Unified Licence, Trai has reduced the revenue share licence fee from 15 percent to 6 per cent of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) with no revenue share and/or entry fee for a number of services.

The framework for the new regime has four categories with Unified Licence at the highest hierarchical level followed by Class licence, Licensing through authorisation and Standalone broadcasting and cable TV licence.

According to a Trai release Unified Licensing will allow any licensee to provide any or all telecom services by acquiring a single license. It may be a matter of relief for service specific licensees as Trai recommends an optional migration at this stage making it mandatory only after 5 years.

Under the proposed regime, Internet telephony, including IP enabled services, will be allowed to Unified Licensee and Niche operators. With an objective to enhance rural teledensity (less than 1 per cent) Niche operators will be permitted to provide all services without any entry fee. With Internet telephony, India will join the group of 80 countries where the Internet telephony service is permissible.

TVis-?-vis broadcasting services, stand alone licenses would be issued under the prevailing process of issuing such licenses by the I&B ministry. This includes allocation of spectrum in consultation with WPC. Whereas if a unified licensee wants to offer broadcasting service, the licensee will have to apply to the I&B ministry in case such clearance is required and fulfil other requirements as prescribed. The content of such a broadcast in any case, would be regulated by the I&B Ministry.

As regards to the service specific licensing regime, validity of these licenses will continue up till two years of implementation of the Unified Licensing regime whereafter the specific service provider will have switch over to a Unified Licence. According to Trai after two years of implementation of the proposed recommendations all new service providers shall be licensed under the new regime.

Nonetheless, benefits of Unified Licensing regime will facilitate customers to access all telecom services including voice, data, cable TV, D-T-H and radio broadcasting through a single wire or wireless medium from a Unified license operator at affordable prices.

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