The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that a separate authorisation under Unified Licence (UL) should be created for Access Network Provider to provide network services on wholesale basis.

The development comes after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) through its letter in May 2019 informed that the National Digital Communications Policy 2018, under its ‘Propel India’ mission, envisages ‘Reforming the licensing and regulatory regime to catalyse investments and innovation and promote ease of doing business’.

To this end it had suggested unbundling of various layers such as infrastructure, network, services, and application through differential licensing.

In its recommendations on ‘Enabling unbundling of different layers through differential licensing’, on Thursday, the authority said that under this authorisation for the network layer only, the Access network provider will not be permitted to directly provide services to the end customers.

‘Bid in spectrum auctions’

It said that Access Network Provider should also be permitted to acquire spectrum through spectrum auctions, subject to the prescribed spectrum caps, enter into spectrum trading and spectrum sharing arrangement with the other Access Network Providers and unified licensees with Access service authorisation.

“It should also have access to back haul spectrum, numbering resources and the right to interconnection.

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The existing regime of Unified License shall be continued. However, if a licensee with Access Service Authorisation under UL wishes to migrate to segregated network layer and service layer regime, it should be permitted to do so,” TRAI said.

The scope of the Access Network Provider should be to establish and maintain access network, including wireless and wireline access network, and selling the network services (capable of carrying voice and non-voice messages and data) on a wholesale basis to Virtual Network Operators (VNOs/service delivery operators) for retailing purpose. VNOs are service delivery operators, who do not own the underlying core networks, and are treated as an extension of network service operators.

The Access Network Provider should be permitted to have capabilities to support all the services mentioned in the scope of Access Service authorisation under UL, it further said.