Trai recommends separate category for network providers

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August 20, 2021 3:00 AM

Any company authorised as access network provider can establish telecom infrastructure, buy spectrum through auctions, and share and trade spectrum with other telecom operators, but cannot offer services directly to end consumers.

As per Trai, “The recommendations aim to create a separate licence authorisation for access network provider and provide a broad framework for VNOs seeking and entering into an agreement with the network providers.”Broadband India Forum (BIF) said that sector regulator's recommendations would boost competition and efficiency

To promote sharing of telecom resources, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended creation of a separate category of access network provider, which can establish and maintain a telecom network, both wireless and wireline, and sell its services to virtual network operators (VNOs) for retailing purposes.

Any company authorised as access network provider can establish telecom infrastructure, buy spectrum through auctions, and share and trade spectrum with other telecom operators, but cannot offer services directly to end consumers.

The authority thinks that when 5G comes to India, such network providers will be in demand as they can set up a telecom network in select areas and sell services to VNOs. Even existing telecom operators can utilise the services of network providers in areas where they don’t have their own infrastructure.

As per Trai, “The recommendations aim to create a separate licence authorisation for access network provider and provide a broad framework for VNOs seeking and entering into an agreement with the network providers.”

The authority thinks implementing these recommendations is likely to result in increased sharing of network resources, reduction of cost, attract investment, strengthen the service delivery segment and could also prove to be a catalyst in proliferation of 5G services.

However, it has to be seen how many companies actually come in to set up telecom networks as the sector is highly capital intensive. The telecom industry is already under financial stress, with one operator facing an acute financial crisis.

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