Airtel gets initial nod for unified licence in Delhi, Kolkata
The country's largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel has got the initial go-ahead from the Department of Telecom (DoT) for its Unified Licence (UL) in Delhi and Kolkata service areas using any technology.
According to a copy of the Letter of Intent (LoI) available with IANS, Bharti Airtel requested the DoT to grant UL in the two circles March 13, 2014. The DoT has issued the letter to the service provider May 9, 2014, specifying that UL agreement will be signed after various compliances "within twentyone working days on receipt of this LoI."
Bharti Airtel needs to pay Rs.2.3 crore as non-refundable entry fee for UL for the two service areas.
According to sources, the company is expected to get the UL by the end of this month. But the company declined to comment when formally contacted by IANS.
The new UL guidelines came in place August 2013 replacing the existing United Access Service Licence (UASL) regime. All the mobile phone firms will have to mandatorily move to the new regime.
The migration to UL allows telecom companies to provide all services under one permit using any technology, as against the existing regime which places various restrictions.
Besides, it also allows operators to share active infrastructure like spectrum, take part in mergers and acquisition activity that were not part of earlier UASL.
Bharti Airtel bought fresh spectrum in Delhi and Kolkata circles in the second generation (2G) spectrum auction that took place in February 2014 as its 20-year licence period in both the circles was expiring November 2014.
Bharti Airtel provides mobile services in all the 22-telecom circles of India and it has over 200 million mobile subscriber base in the country.
The other three companies which have already bagged UL are Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited and Videocon Mobiles.
Vodafone is also said to have applied for UL in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata circles February 19, 2014.
(Aparajita Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 14-05-2014)