The Department of Telecom may allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with broadband spectrum to offer roaming and mobility services.

This will benefit companies such as Reliance Industries-promoted Infotel Broadband, which will be able to operate like a full- fledged mobile operator using broadband spectrum. The emphasis is, however, more on data via devices like tablets.

Although under the existing Internet licence conditions mobility and roaming are mentioned, there is no clarity on whether licence holders can offer services.

The issue never came up until now because none of the Internet players so far wanted to get into the mobility space.

However, things have changed after the Government auctioned broadband spectrum in 2010. Companies such as Infotel Broadband, Augere and Qualcomm, which won the spectrum on an ISP licence, want to deploy fourth generation technology that allows an Internet operator to go mobile. Until now only those operators that took the Unified Access Service Licence were offering mobility services.

The DoT is now looking to make it clear that roaming and mobility will be permitted to ISPs. However, there could be some restrictions. Roaming would be permitted only between Internet players with broadband spectrum and not with an operator who has unified access licence. Also, the area of mobility using broadband spectrum will be limited to the service area.

RIL’s application

The DoT was forced to look into these aspects after Augere and RIL’s Infotel Broadband applied for mobile numbering resources, typically used by cellular operators.


(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 19, 2012)
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