On 7th July 2014, India's Department of Telecom sent a letter to the telecom regulator TRAI, seeking its recommendations for "delinking licenses for networks from the delivery of services by way of virtual network operators (VNOs)". The letter also says that the Unified License, which India adopted last year, "may be introduced in two phases with the delinking of licensing for networks from the delivery of services being taken up in a subsequent phase." In its pre-consultation paper (download), the TRAI raises a relevant point: Another point for deliberation could be that today there is no licensing regime for application providers and Over-The-Top(OTT) operators. With the introduction of the proposed model, would those entities also need to take a licence for providing these services? As we had pointed out earlier, the report on the TRAI is not looking to regulate Internet services appeared to be false. A mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a service provider who, without investing in infrastructure, can pre-buy telecom resources like calls, messages (and possbily Internet bandwidth), rebrand them, and provide these to their own customers. Read: Our complete coverage of TRAI's Internet Regulation discussions Delinking Services from Opertors will lead to licensing of services The TRAI doesn't really need to ask the question about whether application providers and OTT operators would be covered other this regime. The telecom policy already defines what a Service Delivery Operator is: The draft National Telecom Policy-2011 issued by the DoT, on 10th October 2011, envisaged two categories of licenses: (a) Network Service Operator…
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