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India’s Unified License Guidelines: Roaming Pacts, Cross Ownership, Broadcast

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has released (pdf) the final license agreement for unified licenses, which will allow telcos to offer any form of communication (telephone, Internet, broadband and others) through a single license. It also delinks spectrum from future licenses. This license was introduced as part of the new telecom policy that was launched in June 2012 and is valid for 20 years from the effective date of this license, with an option to renew it for 10 years at one time later. Highlights from the Unified License agreement - FDI: Licensees should ensure that the foreign equity in the company does not exceed 74% stake during the entire license period. FDI up to 49% will be allowed through automatic route and up to 74% through prior approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Its however worth noting that Indian government had approved 100% FDI in telecom last month. - Licensees should not hold any other licenses for the services covered under Unified licenses. In case the licensees obtains any other license through acquisition or merger, it should merge these licenses to unified licenses. - Cross Ownership Prohibited: No Licensees or its promoters can directly or indirectly have stake in another licensee having access spectrum in the same service area. The exception granted in the previous unified access service license regime will end on the expiry of service license and licensees should comply with this condition within one year of migrating to unified license. This essentially means that cross ownership between telcos is…

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