Introduction to erstwhile Unified Access Services/Cellular Mobile Services

  • Unified Access Services

    The country is divided into 22 Service Areas consisting of 19 Telecom Circle Service and 3 Metro Service Areas for providing Unified Access Services (UAS).

    Unified Access Services operators are free to provide, within their area of operation, services which cover collection, carriage, transmission and delivery of voice and/or non-voice messages over Licensee's network by deploying circuit and/or packet switched equipment.

    Further, the Licensee an also provide Voice Mail, Audiotex services, Video Conferencing, Videotex, E-Mail , Closed User Group (CUG) as Value Added Services over its network to the subscribers falling within its service area on non-discriminatory basis. The Licensee cannot provide any service except as mentioned above, which require a separate licence. However, an intimation before providing any other value added service has to be sent to the Licensor and TRAI.

    An Unified Access Services licensee can provide wireline as well as wireless services in a service area. Wireless services include Full Mobile, Limited Mobile and Fixed Wireless services. The licensee can also provide various Value Added Services . A restriction for authentication of subscriber terminal has been placed. In case of Limited Mobility facility based on Short Distance Charging Area Linked Numbering Scheme. However, same facility without any restriction can be availed by adopting numbering plan for Cellular Mobile Services and using Home Zone Tariff Schemes.

    Basic and Cellular Services Licensees are permitted to migrate to Unified Access Services Licence regime. The service providers migrating to Unified Access Services Licence will continue to provide wireless services in already allocated/contracted spectrum and no additional spectrum will be allotted under the migration process for Unified Access Services Licence. Guidelines for such migration were announced on 11.11.2003 and are available on this website.

    The spectrum charges are levied separately. For wireless operations in SUBSCRIBER access network, the frequencies shall be assigned by WPC wing of the Department of Telecom from the frequency bands earmarked in the applicable National Frequency Allocation Plan and in coordination with various users. Initially a cumulative maximum of upto 4.4 MHz + 4.4 MHz shall be allocated in the case of TDMA based systems @ 200 KHz per carrier or 30 KHz per carrier or a maximum of 2.5 MHz + 2.5 MHz shall be allocated in the case of CDMA based systems @ 1.25 MHz per carrier, on case by case basis subject to availability. While efforts would be made to make available larger chunks to the extent feasible, the frequencies assigned may not be contiguous and may not be the same in all cases or within the whole Service Area. For making available appropriate frequency spectrum for roll out of services under the licence, the type(s) of Systems to be deployed are to be indicated.

    Additional spectrum beyond the above stipulation may also be considered for allocation after ensuring optimal and efficient utilization of the already allocated spectrum taking into account all types of traffic and guidelines / criteria prescribed from time to time. However, spectrum not more than 5 + 5 MHz in respect of CDMA system or 6.2 + 6.2 MHz in respect of TDMA based system shall be allocated to any new Unified Access Services Licensee. The spectrum shall be allocated in 824-844 MHz paired with 869 - 889 MHz, 890 - 915 MHz paired with 935 - 960 MHz, 1710 1785 MHz paired with 1805 1880 MHz.

    Cellular Mobile Services

    The Country is divided into 22 Service Areas consisting of 19 Telecom Circle Service Areas and 3 Metro Service Areas for providing Cellular Mobile Telephone Service (CMTS).

    In terms of National Telecom Policy (NTP)-1994, the first phase of liberalization in mobile telephone service started with issue of 8 licenses for CMTS in the 4 metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai to 8 private companies in November 1994. Subsequently, 34 licenses for 18 Territorial Telecom Circles were also issued to 14 private companies during 1995 to 1998. During this period a maximum of two licenses were granted for CMTS in each service area and these licensees were called 1st & 2nd cellular licensees. These licensees were to pay fixed amount of license fees annually based on the agreed amount during the bidding process. Subsequently, they were permitted to migrate to New Telecom Policy (NTP) 1999 regime wherein they are required to pay License fee based on revenue share, which is effective from 1st August, 1999.

    State owned Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) {Mahanager Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)} were issued licenses for provision of CMTS as third operator in various parts of the country. Further, 17 fresh licenses have been issued to private companies as fourth cellular operator in September/ October, 2001, one each in 4 Metro cities and 13 Telecom Circles.

    As per conditions of the License Agreement, cellular operators are free to provide, within their area of operation, all types of mobile services including voice and non-voice messages, data services and Public Call Offices (PCOs) utilizing any type of network equipment, including circuit and/or package switches that meet the relevant International Telecommunication Union (ITU) /Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) standards.

    The old cellular licensees (1st and 2nd CMTS licensees) in telecom circles have been given additional concession for a period of 4 years w.e.f. 1st April 2004 in the license fee. The license fee, excluding spectrum charges for old cellular licensees (1st and 2nd CMTS licensees) in telecom circles is 8% of "Adjusted Gross Revenue" (AGR) for category `A' circles, 6% of AGR for category `B' Circles and 5% of AGR for category `C' Circles for a period of 4 years w.e.f. 1st April 2004.

    In addition to license fees, the CMTS licensees pay spectrum charges on revenue share basis of 2% of AGR for spectrum up to 4.4 MHz. For spectrum beyond 4.2 MHz up to 6.2 MHz, they are required to pay additional charges @1% of AGR. For spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz, which shall be given if the subscriber base is more than 5 Lacs, they are required to pay additional 1% of AGR. Allocation of spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz is subject to availability; however, spectrum allocation would be limited to a maximum of 10MHz + 10MHz per operator in a service area. Such additional allocation could be considered only after a suitable subscriber base, as may be prescribed, is reached.

    Consequent upon announcement of guidelines for Unified Access (Basic& Cellular) Services licenses on 11.11.2003, some of the CMTS operators have been permitted to migrate from CMTS License to Unified Access Service License (UASL).

    No new CMTS and Basic service licenses are being awarded after issuing the guidelines for Unified access Service Licence(UASL).

    The status of total licensees as on 31st March 2008 is as follows

    Summary of Licensees
    Basic Licensees 2
    CMTS Licensees 39
    UAS Licensees 240
    Total Licensees 281

    Dialing procedures have been simplified in respect of Mumbai Metro and Maharashtra, Chennai Metro and Tamilnadu, Kolkata Metro and West Bengal and UP West & UP East Circle.

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