Technology Neutral License + De-Linked from Spectrum

TRAI has issued Draft Guidelines on De-Linking all the Licenses from Spectrum. Currently, an operator needs to take separate licence for services such as mobile, fixed‐line, NLD, ILD, broadcasting, DTH and other allied telecom services. As going forward, the new licence will be technology‐neutral the operator can offer any telecom service. Service providers would have to separately apply/bid for requisite spectrum.

A single national level license is a step towards the One Nation-One License regime, as mentioned in the Draft New Telecom Policy, 2011. However, low entry fees and a district level license could increase competition in the existing 15 player telecom industry in India.

Scopr for MVNO – Licenses without spectrum would be an easy entry point for companies that would like to operate as MVNOs. TRAI has also recommended a No Cap on Number of Entrants in any Licence Area. Thus anybody with strong marketing force and focus on service can be a MVNO thus encouraging Entrepreneurship.

Voice Service A unified licensing regime would make a way for newer players such as RIL to enter into full fledged voice mobile telephony services and the industry adding another strong competitor. [Note, Voice over TD-LTE will take atleast 3 years to Materialize, if at all it does]

We expect penetration for any new operators to be challenging as it has been for the 2G telecom operators who were awarded licenses in 2008. Primarily due to high subscriber acquisition costs due to the high churning nature of the industry and advertising and promotion costs. This in turn would increase the subscriber acquisition costs for incumbents on account of increased competition (currently ~12% of revenues).

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