TRAI on August 6 released recommendations on Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), enabling the introduction of MVNOs in the Indian telecom network.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), vide its letter dated March 20, 2008, had sought TRAI’s recommendations on the need and timing for introduction of MVNO as well as terms and conditions of the license to be granted to such operators.
TRAI had undertaken the public consultation process on the various underlying issues relating to the introduction of MVNO in India such as concept and definition of MVNO, different models, need and timing for entry of MVNO, regulatory approaches, licensing issues, etc., by issuing a consultation paper on May 5, 2008, followed by an open house discussion in Delhi on June 16, 2008.
Keeping in view the comments received from stakeholders during the public consultation process, international experience and internal study, TRAI has formulated its recommendations on the need and timing for introduction of MVNO as well as terms and conditions of the license to be granted to such operators.
The introduction of MVNO is seen as a natural progression towards enhancing free market principles and contributing to the efficient use of existing telecommunication infrastructure.
The Authority has recommended definition of an MVNO as ‘MVNO is a licensee in any service area that does not have spectrum of its own for access service, but can provide wireless (mobile) access services to its own customers through an agreement with the licensed access provider, UAS/CMTS Licensee’.
The spectrum for access services as on date would include: 2G, 3G and BWA spectrum. MVNO cannot participate in spectrum auction for Access Services in their service area as they cannot have their own spectrum. Similarly, ISPs can become MVNOs if they do not have BWA spectrum.