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Telecom regulator issues guidelines for mobile TV

TRAI recommends guidelines for rolling out mobile television services to the I&B Ministry on various issues related to licensing and technology.

business Updated: Jan 23, 2008 16:08 IST

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday recommended guidelines for rolling out mobile television services to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on various issues related to licensing and technology.

TRAI has suggested that the choice of broadcasting technology should be left to the service providers but should be recognised by an authorised body.

There are broadly two routes for providing mobile television services. One is operated by using the telecom network with spectrum already allotted to Unified Access Service License (UASL) and Cellular Mobile Telephone Service (CMTS) licensees, and the other using broadcasting method using separate spectrum.

According to TRAI, telecom operators with CMTS or UASL licenses will not require any further licence or permission for offering mobile television services on their own network using the frequency or spectrum already allotted to them.

However, providing mobile television services through the broadcasting method will require a separate licence.

Besides state-run television network Doordarshan, private mobile television operators may be assigned at least one slot of eight MHz each for mobile television operation in UHF Band V from 585 MHz to 806 MHz.

Such spectrum would enable each mobile TV operator to offer about 15 video channels through the terrestrial broadcast route, TRAI said.

"The competition between telecom and broadcasting networks will work for the ultimate benefit of the consumer. With the advent of mobile television services in the country, the consumers will get more choice in watching television in terms of what they watch, how they watch and when they watch," said TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra.

On the issue of licence fees to be paid by the operators, TRAI recommended that the licences for mobile television services should be granted through a closed tender system on the basis of one time entry fees (OTEF) quoted by the bidders.

The reserve OTEF for a particular licence area should be 50 per cent of the highest financial bid submitted for that particular licence area.

It has also called for automatic allocation of spectrum to mobile television licensees for successful bidders while ruling out any kind of selection process.

The body also asked that the mobile television licence be made mandatory for any telecom licensee.

It has also batted for the creation of a new class of service providers for provision of mobile television services using broadcasting technologies.

TRAI has fixed the limit of 74 per cent of foreign direct investment (FDI) for mobile television services. It also fixed the tenure of the licence for 10 years.

The licence fee should be charged at four per cent of the gross revenue for each year or at 10 per cent of the OTEF limit for the concerned licence area, whichever was higher, TRAI said.

It has also directed a mobile television licensee to not to allow any broadcasting company or group of broadcasting companies to collectively hold or own more than 20 per cent of the total paid up equity in its company at any time during the licence period.