May 21, 2022

Trai suggests creating a separate authorization for the access network provider

Trai suggested on Thursday that a separate authorization be created for the access network provider, to offer wholesale network services, as the sector regulator explained its take on unbundling the different layers through differential licenses.

The recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) aim to create a separate license authorization for the access network provider and establish a broad framework for virtual network operators (VNOs) seeking and entering into pacts with network providers.

The implementation of these recommendations is expected to lead to increased sharing of network resources, reduced costs, investments and enhanced service delivery, and could also prove to be a catalyst for the proliferation of 5G services, a Trai said in a statement.

“A separate unified license authorization should be created for the access network provider (network layer) to provide wholesale network services,” Trai said.

Under this new authorization, the access network provider would not be authorized to provide services directly to end customers.

The mission of the access network provider would be to establish and maintain a telecommunications network, including wireless and wired infrastructure, and sell the network services (capable of carrying voice messages and data and not voice) on a wholesale basis to VNOs (service delivery operators) for retail purposes.

“The access network provider should also be allowed to provide / share its network resources to / with the telecommunications service providers who are licensed … and vice versa,” said Trai.

Like the “unified licensee” with access authorization, the new category – the access network provider – should also be allowed to acquire spectrum through auctions, subject to prescribed caps, to conclude contracts. spectrum exchange and sharing agreements with other players.

It should also have access to backhaul spectrum, numbering resources and the right to interconnect, Trai said.

The existing licensing regime of “unified licensing” should be maintained, Trai said, adding that, but if an access service licensee wishes to migrate to a separate network layer and service layer regime, he should be allowed to do so.

The network provider should be allowed to license separately under the VNO for the provision of services to end subscribers.

The license fees and spectrum usage charges applicable for the authorization of the access network provider should be the same as for the unified access service.

He stated that the combined scope of access network provider and UL-VNO (access service) is equal to the scope of a licensee with access service authorization. “The minimum equity, minimum equity, entry fee and FBG / PBG (Financial and Performance Bank Guarantee) requirements for the authorization of the proposed access network provider can be obtained by deducting the amounts prescribed for UL (VNO access service) of the prescribed amount for UL access service authorization, “he said.

In addition, he said that to bring transparency and accountability in the whole process of finding and concluding an agreement by VNO with the network provider or unified licensee, a broad framework should be prescribed, including the process for filing and processing requests and defined deadlines.

“To ensure that the terms and conditions offered to the different VNOs are fair, transparent and non-discriminatory, the unified licensee must declare its reference offer (including advertisements) on its website.

“The unified licensee will offer the wholesale services to various WNVs, including the self-owned / promoted WNVs, in a transparent, fair and non-discriminatory manner,” said Trai.

Simply put, VNOs are entities licensed to provide telecom services such as mobile, fixed and internet services, but only as retailers for full-fledged telecom operators such as BSNL, MTNL and others.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)