The Department of Telecommunication has come out with new guidelines that will allow 4G players to offer mobile telephony.
The migration guidelines, which has been awaited for sometime now, will finally pave the way for Internet service providers (ISP) like Reliance Jio Infocomm, Augere and Tikona, that won BWA spectrum during the auctions, to offer mobile telephony service by paying an extra fee of Rs 1,658.57 crore.
Mukesh Ambani firm Reliance Jio Infocomm holds pan-India 4G licences to offer voice telephony besides high speed data services.
This is good news for consumers as there was some fear that the cancellation of telecom licences would lead to an increase in voice tariffs among the remaining players. Now that DoT is allowing 4G players to enter the voice segment, this could lead to the reverse and rates might go down further.
According to the guidelines issued by DoT:
“For migration of ISP with BWA spectrum to Unified License (UL) regime with authorisation of providing access services, which enables it to provide mobile voice services also using BWA spectrum, an additional fee equal to the difference between the entry fee for UASL and entry fee paid for ISP license shall be payable in addition to the entry fee as applicable for new UL”.
So for companies that own 4G wireless broadband spectrum and have an ISP licence the additional fee works out to be Rs 1,658.57 crore excluding fees payable for unified licences for pan India.
Companies like Airtel and Aircel which won 4G spectrum in some circles already offer mobile services.
While Airtel has begun 4G services in some circles already, Reliance is expected to their 4G services by the end of the current year.
Earlier this month, DoT announced the latest unified communications licence framework with the aim to free players from limitations on use of technology for services and allow them to take benefits under the new sectoral policy. All existing telecom service providers will have to move to this after expiry of their licences so that they can continue offering services.
An earlier report by us had wrongly interpreted the unified license framework and said that it will make end to end internet telephony impossible in the country.