TTSL Applies For 4 More Basic Service Licences

New Delhi, Sept 18: | Updated: Sep 19 2003, 05:30am hrs
Notwithstand-ing the ongoing controversy over the scope of limited mobility, Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) has gone ahead and applied for four more basic service licences in four more states Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh (West). The applications for licences have been filed by the company a few days ago.

The company is currently operating in six circles including Andhra Pradesh (AP), Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu (TN) and Maharashtra, which the company has acquired from TTSL is offering fixed landline, wireless in local loop-fixed (WLL-F) and wireless in local loop-mobile (WLL-M) in these circles. The new licences will increase the companys footprint to 10 circles making it closer to have a pan-India operation.

The department of telecommunication (DoT) sources have confirmed that the company has applied for the four fresh licences to start its services in four new circles. The applications are being processed by DoT and licences may be issued with 15 days, as per government guidelines.

Senior officials in the Tata Group have also confirmed that the company has applied for the licences and said the services in these circles would commence over the next six to eight months.

The move by Tatas to apply for four more licences at this time is significant in the backdrop of the intiative by the government and the telecom regulator to introduce an unified licence regime in the telecom sector. The basic opeartors including TTSL have welcomed the move while cellular opeartors have been opposing it saying that the government should first resolve the existing issues like level playing field, interconnect usage charges (IUC), account separation, among others.

The company officials however maintain that the move is not influenced by the unified licence intitiative of the government and the company had been planning to expand its footprint in more circles.

According to DoT guidelines for basic licences, TTSL will have to shell out an entry fee of Rs 20 crore each for Punjab and Kerala while the licences to operate in Haryana and UP (West) will cost the company Rs 10 crore each. Moreover, the company will have to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 80 crore each for Punjab and Kerala. The bank gurantee for UP (West) will be Rs 60 crore and for Haryana Rs 40 crore.