Indian regulator calls for nationwide licenses
Indian telecom regulator Trai has proposed that the government issue pan-India unified telecom service licenses – divorced from spectrum – at an entry price of 150 million rupees (€2.2 million).
The proposed entry fee is a discount on the 200 million rupees the regulator had first recommended, India's Economic Times reported.
Trai has been recommending since January that the government begin allocating technology neutral licenses allowing operators to provide any telecom-related service.
These new licenses would be delinked from spectrum. Currently pan-India mobile permits come bundled with 4.4 MHz of GSM spectrum or 2.5 MHz of CDMA spectrum in each of India's 22 telecom circles. One of these licenses currently costs 16.58 billion rupees ($321.3 million.)
But following the controversy surrounding the 2008 allocation of 2G spectrum to eight operators on a first-come-first-serve basis, the government has been under pressure to transition to an auction model for allocating airwaves.
A recent court verdict to revoke the 122 2G licenses also ordered the government to use auctions to allocate all natural resources such as spectrum.
Trai has also proposed that operators be able to apply for licenses at the equivalent of state level at a cheaper price of 10 million rupees each, or at district level for 1 million rupees.