The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Basic players want unified licence scope widened

New Delhi, Sept. 2: Basic telecom operators, who also offer limited mobile services, today suggested that the unified licence should be offered to the existing operators.

The Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO) said a unified licence should not only bring together basic and cellular mobile services, but should also cover long-distance telephony services (national and international) and internet services.

A unified licence to provide a suite of telecom services is vital for the future growth of the telecom sector in the country, the basic operators said. ABTO has suggested that there should be a uniform cap for the allocation of spectrum based on need / requirement to all unified service providers based on the payment of requisite entry fee.

The unified licensing regime will serve to eliminate the uncertainty and duplication that is happening in rolling out different types of networks and also ensure that technology advancement and resulting services are not artificially curtailed. There should be options given to the operators to migrate to unified licensing regime.

“However, in order to prevent the industry from being fragmented, all operators should be encouraged to migrate to the unified licensing regime,” said S. C. Khanna, ABTO secretary general.

According to the submission by ABTO on unified licensing regime to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the incumbent operator like BSNL/ MTNL should pay all prescribed fees.

“ABTO is of the view that ideally, there should be no entry fee applicable for migration of existing basic and cellular licensees to the new regime in the same service area. But in the existing set-up since CMSPs (cellular mobile service providers) and BSOs (basic service operators) have different rollout obligations and varying levels of entry fees, this may require some fine tuning,” states the letter to Trai.

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