New Delhi : Mobile Virtual Network Operators that intend to enter the domestic mobile space will not be allowed to own spectrum, TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra today said.
“Mobile Virtual Network Operators will not be allowed to have spectrum of their own,” he said while talking to reporters after TRAI’s Open House today on the matter.
Globally MVNOs purchase of air-time on wholesale basis from the mobile network operators (MNO) and then use it to provide services to customers through their own brand.
Following the global practice, MVNOs entering India would be able to foray into the mobile space without owning any infrastructure or spectrum but by buying air-time from MNOs.
Misra added that there would have to be a lock-in period for the MVNOs along with a security amount, which would be forfeited incase the the company plans to exit business before the stipulated lock-in period.
MNO had earlier conveyed it to TRAI that the definition of MVNOs as suggested by the regulator need to be changed to rule out any sharing of spectrum between them and MVNOs.
In its consultation paper telecom regulator Trai has said: “MVNO licensee is an entity that does not have an assignment of spectrum for Access Services (2G/3G/BWA) but can provide wireless (mobile) Access Services to customers by sharing the spectrum of the Access Provider”.
In their response to Trai’s suggestion all the major operators Bharti, Reliance Communications and BSNL had sought changes in the definition of an MVNO. The operators said an MVNO does not have an allocation of spectrum neither does not have its own radio frequency.
The operators want commercial arrangement between MVNOs and mobile operators’ for providing the telecom services to end user, which is the essence of any MVNO’s business.