In its draft guidelines for a unified licence regime issued on Monday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has proposed that the entry fee for a pan-India mobile licence be hiked to Rs20 crore from the current Rs1,658 crore.
Moreover these permits will no longer be bundled with spectrum, and companies that obtain them must buy radio frequencies through auctions.
Currently, a pan-India permit comes bundled with 4.4 MHz of start-up GSM spectrum or 2.5 MHz of CDMA spectrum in all the 22 telecom 'circles' or regions.
The regulator has also proposed that companies be allowed to apply for these permits at the state or district levels.
A unified licence regime allows the operator to provide long distance and international calls (STD and ISD, as these are still quaintly called since the days when the two state-run telcos were the only ones providing these services). It also permits internet and infrastructure provider (IP-1) services; but not mobile services.
"Unified licence will be given without any spectrum. Licensee has to separately apply/bid for obtaining spectrum as per the prevailing policy," the TRAI proposal said.