Internet service providers in India have been granted permission to use broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum to offer voice services by the country’s Telecom Commission.
The Telecom Secretary R. Chandrashekhar has confirmed that providers with BWA spectrum licences must pay an additional INR16.58 billion ($306 million) if they wish to add voice services to their offering. The updated licence terms have been approved by the Indian cabinet, and will be implemented by the end of fiscal year 2012-13.
Of the six BWA licensees – Aircel, Augere, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, RJI and Tikona Digital – only two (Bharti Airtel & Aircel) have previously been able to offer voice services in addition to internet.
India’s Department of Telecoms proposed to redefinition of licence terms following the country’s introduction of the Unified Licensing Regime, which was implemented as an attempt to future-proof licensing processes. This was approved by the Telecom Commission, meaning that licensees can use their spectrum to offer any compatible services that they choose.