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DoT amends telecom license to allow for public WiFi hotspots, infra sharing

The Department of Telecommunications on Tuesday published an amendment of the Unified Access Service License (UASL) to allow for infrastructure sharing and public WiFi hotspots by telecom operators and Internet Service Providers. The government has added the following language to the General Conditions of the license:

Licensee may also enter into mutual commercial agreements for roaming facilities (within same service area or other service areas) with Unified Licensees having Category ‘A’, Category ‘B’ and Category ‘C’ Internet Service Provider (ISP) authorizations/ Category ‘A’, Category ‘B’ and Category ‘C’ Internet Service Provider (ISP) Licensees, for providing Internet Access Services only.

The government also added this language on infrastructure sharing:

Sharing of infrastructure related to Wi-Fi equipment such as Wi-Fi router, Access Point etc. is allowed. Sharing of backhaul is also permitted.

These changes follow a sweeping announcement by the government to make it easier to set up public WiFi hotspots. It remains to be seen how much investment will go into hotspots, though, as mobile data prices are incredibly cheap in India, and the revenue from selling WiFi access is uncertain.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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