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TRAI floats consultation paper asking ‘how to ease telecom business in India?’

In order to “ease” opening of a telecom business in India, telecom regulator TRAI is inviting comments from telcos, service providers and stakeholders asking how the existing regulations could be tweaked. The regulator is looking at simplifying or even tweaking existing license conditions, spectrum sharing/trading guidelines, policies regarding mergers and acquisitions, among others. TRAI said that current processes that a telecom company goes through before and after applying for a license “should be simplified.” “…it is important to identify the bottlenecks, obstacles or hindrances that are making it difficult to do telecom business in India and thus, require regulatory intervention,” the regulator added. The consultation also comes at a time when India’s telecom industry is going through a competitive phase. With the entry of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio, a 4G only operator in 22 circles, small players like Telenor are either looking to merge with rivals or phase out operations completely. Apart from this, the third largest operator Idea Cellular was reportedly in talks with Vodafone for a potential merger deal. Regulations that the TRAI is looking at TRAI is looking at tweaking regulations regarding the Unified License regime, Spectrum allotment, clearances required for using satellite media, among others. Stakeholders can forward comments to advmn@trai.gov.in by 11th April 2017. Related to Unified Licence: Any firm/company looking to offer telecom services in India will first need to acquire a UL/UASL/MVNO license to operate. Once the telco acquires a license, the company is subject to “roll out obligations” and other compliances to make sure that spectrum assigned…

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