In a reply to TRAI’s consultation paper, most Telecom operators have said that there was no need for new licenses for next generation networks and there should be no change in current set-up in this regard. Telcos contend that current licenses were technology neutral and therefore should serve the purpose even when the industry move to next generation networks (NGN).

NGN refers to key architectural evolutions in telecommunication core and access networks that are expected to be deployed over the next 5-10 years. The general idea behind NGN is that one network transports all information and services (voice, data, and all sorts of media such as video) by encapsulating these into packets, like it is on the Internet. NGNs are commonly built around the Internet Protocol, and therefore the term ‘all-IP’ is also sometimes used to describe the transformation towards NGN

India’s biggest mobile operator Bharti Airtel said in its reply to the regulator that the existing licenses were inclusive and permit operators to offer all types of access services. Operators could, based on their evolution plans and strategies, evolve from current technologies to next generation technologies and networks.

Similar views were expressed by Reliance Communications, the biggest CDMA player, which believes that the need for a new license was not relevant for deployment of NGN as it represented just another generation of technological evolution and all presently licensed operators in the sector were free to adopt and deploy the technologies in their network.