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DoT frees up switching equipment regulations; Win for VoLTE & IoT


Telecom companies in India are now allowed to install media gateway controller and SoftSwitches anywhere within the country’s geographical limits, as opposed to the earlier regulation which allowed deployment within “geographical boundaries” of the authorized telecom circle limits. Earlier, only telcos who held an Access Service license along with a national/international long distance permit were allowed to deploy switches gateways without restrictions.

Media Gateway Controllers (MGCs) connects different types of mobile networks and allows telcos to maintain call control and deliver tone signals. Mobile networks can be based on (a) IP-based networks which transmit voice over the Internet and; (b) Switch-based networks which use asynchronous transfer standards to transmit voice via private branch exchanges.  On the other hand, SoftSwitches (or software based switching) simply interconnects VoIP calls and calls arising from PSTN networks using software means.

The Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) existing Access Service license condition 4.5(i) earlier read:

“The licensee shall install applicable system within its service area. However, for IP based Next Generation Network, Media Gateway Controller (MGC)/ Soft Switch can be deployed within geographical boundaries of any one of the authorized service area for Access Services or anywhere in the country if the Licensee has authorization for NLD/ILD service also.”

The same condition no 4.5 (i) has now been amended to read as:

“The licensee may deploy any of its equipments anywhere in the country subject to the interconnect points being located and operated in respective service areas for inter operator, inter service area, NLD, ILD calls and meeting security conditions as mentioned in the license”.

What this means for telcos

As per an Economic Times article which quotes telecom association COAI, the ability to freely install media gateways across the length and breadth of the country will allow telcos to better optimize their calling capacities. The association added that this amendment will also ease deployment up of IoT and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) dedicated networks although the ecosystem for IoT is still growing in India.

This is also the right step towards easing deployment of 4G LTE networks that allow calls to be placed over the Internet using the VoLTE standard. But VoLTE is at a nascent stage in India since the devices that support the standard are yet to penetrate in the country while Jio provides VoLTE for Jio-to-Jio calls only. Rival operators including Airtel, Vodafone (and Idea) are also considering VoLTE launch, and the new amendment will help them in the roll out.

Download: DoT amendment notice

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