The Telecom Regulator Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended the government to issue a new licence in the virtual network operator (VNO) category for landline service at the district level.

Trai has suggested the present licence of VNOs may be amended to enable to allow them use fixed line network of various telecom operators for providing the Electronic Private Automatic Branch Exchange (EPABX) services.

The VNOs are entities authorised to provide telecom services like mobile, landline and internet, but only as a retailer for full-fledged telecom operators such as BSNL, MTNL, Airtel.

The department of telecom (DoT) has already started issuing licence for VNOs. The new set of recommendations from Trai has been issued following reference from the DoT for access service by VNOs at district or service area level.

The recommendations will impact EPABX service providers which are permitted under a scheme called the Direct Inward Dialing (DID) introduced by the DoT in the year 1994 for expansion of landline services. Trai said that existing DID franchisees should migrate to UL (VNO) Category ‘B’ licence to continue services.

“New license should not be restricted only to existing DID franchisees and should also be open to new entities intending to offer such services,” Trai said. The regulator has recommended that the duration of UL (VNO) Category ‘B license shall remain consistent with the guidelines of UL (VNO) and accordingly be issued for a period of 10 years duration and further renewable for 10 years.

Trai has recommended that the entry fee of Rs1.65 lakh for 10 years of duration of licence shall be applicable to the new permit and the minimum net worth of licence holder should be more than Rs5 lakh per authorisation.  – Live Mint 


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