Telecom Service Providers (TSP)

Telecom Reforms

Introduction

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), in second half of 2021, released a series of notifications for reforming the telecom sector and bringing much-needed reforms. These notifications were compiled in a booklet titled “Telecom Reforms 2021” and released by the DoT (“Reforms”). The Reforms span over different areas of telecom regulations including: Know Your Customer (“KYC”) Norms, amending the definition Adjusted Gross Revenue (“AGR”), a percentage of which is the license fee, Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”), Bank Guarantees, Customer Application Forms (“CAF”), sharing and assignment of spectrum, Standing Advisory Committee on Frequency Allocation (“SACFA”) clearance, Import of Wireless Equipment and liquidity requirements of Telecom Service Providers (“TSP”). In this blog, we provide an overview of the Reforms and present a brief overall analysis of the same.

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The TRAI's Recommendations on Unbundling Licenses

Introduction

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently recommended the unbundling of layers of telecom services through a system of differential licensing. The recommendations aim to “catalyse Investments and Innovation and promote Ease of Doing Business”. While the said recommendations have been welcomed by a cross-section of stakeholders, concerns were raised regarding the application of license fee as a percentage of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) at different levels. Even though the recommendations of the TRAI are not binding on the licensor (Department of Telecommunications (DoT)), they represent a significant shift in TRAI’s approach to the issuance of licenses in the telecom sector and possibly attracting new service providers.

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