Indian telecoms operators wishing to provide a full range of telecoms services will be required to pay USD24.52 million for a new unified licence if the government accepts the pricing recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The new licence will allow operators to provide fixed line, wireless, domestic and international voice telephony, internet telephony, cable TV, direct-to-home TV and broadcasting services, and global mobile personal communications by satellite (GMPCS). It will also cover ‘class services’ such as mobile radio trunking, VSAT and network services. In total, the TRAI is suggesting four categories of licence, with the unified licence being the most valuable concession available.
Under the new licensing framework, India’s operators will also have to agree to hand over 6% of their adjusted gross revenues on migrating to the new system, while service providers looking to provide fixed line services will also be required to pay an additional fee; the amount will be calculated on a formula that takes into account the sum paid by basic operators entering the market before 2001. In addition, the TRAI is recommending that India lifts the current restrictions on IP telephony, which presently limits internet-based calls to being made in cybercafés, and replace them with a more relaxed regime under which users can make internet calls from their own home landline. The government is expected to make a decision on the proposals within a week. If accepted, mandatory migration to the new unified system will be required within a maximum of five years after its implementation.