New Delhi, Nov. 11: The government today issued guidelines for a unified access service licence (UASL) which will allow telephone companies to offer the entire range of telecom services — fixed-line, limited mobile and mobile phone services.
Fixed-line companies can now offer full cellular services on paying a fee equal to that for getting a fourth cellular licence in a region minus the money they paid for the fixed-line licence in that area.
Reliance will have to shell out Rs 1,096.01 crore to migrate to the new regime besides a penalty of Rs 485 crore for illegally offering roaming on their limited mobile phones since they launched their service.
The government has also allowed free entry for basic operators in the telecom circles where cellular operators had not come forward to offer services during the fourth round of bidding for cellular licence. These are West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Orissa and the northeastern states.
The cellular operators will not have to pay any fee to migrate to the new licence regime.
Limited mobility players who do not wish to migrate to the full mobility regime will only be required to pay the fee for WiLL(M) with mobility strictly restricted within the short-distance charging area (SDCA).
The government has formally issued an addendum to the existing National Telecom Policy 1999 and decided that there will be two additional categories of licences for telecom services.
An official release said, “One for unified access (fixed-line and cellular) services permitting players to provide basic or cellular service using any technology in a defined service area. Another for unified licence for telecom services permitting service providers to offer all telecom or telegraph services covering various geographical areas using any technology.”
The companies will have to make an upfront payment of all dues along with the request for migration to the new unified access services licence regime.
Cellular operators refused to comment on the UASL while basic operators said, “This paves the way for enhancing growth the sector has been witnessing in the past six to seven months.”