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Govt initiates fresh reforms in telecom sector

Presently, standalone licenses for VMS/Audiotex/ UMS are being issued by DOT as per the existing guidelines in 2001.

SNS | New Delhi |

In a series of policy reforms initiated in the telecom sector, the government has issued the “Licensing framework for Audio Conferencing/ Audiotex/ Voice Mail Services under Unified License” and amendments in the terms and conditions of the existing standalone license of “Voice Mail Service (VMS)/ Audiotex (ATS)/ Unified Messaging Services (UMS)”.

The framework will be effective from January 1.

Presently, standalone licenses for VMS/Audiotex/ UMS are being issued by DOT as per the existing guidelines in 2001.

After examining the TRAI’s recommendations on “Licensing framework for Audio Conferencing/Audiotex/ Voice Mail Services”, the DoT has decided to make this license a part of the Unified License (UL) by adding a new chapter for this authorisation.

However, the migration from existing license to unified license will be optional for existing licensees holding VMS/ Audiotex/ UMS license. No new standalone license or their renewal will be issued for VMS/ Audiotex/ UMS license against the DOT guidelines issued in 2001, a press release from the Communications Ministry said today.

The major highlights of the changes as per the revised policy issued are:

–The license is being made part of “Unified Licence” by adding a new Chapter for the authorisation titled “Audio-conferencing/ Audiotex/ Voice Mail Service”;

— The Audio Conferencing unit can be connected to both PSTN/Mobile and IP network as per TEC standards;

–Dial out facility will be allowed even if using resources of more than one access service provider subject to license conditions;

–Point-to-point conferencing has been allowed for providing services to Registered Enterprises in India;

–The Service Area for the License under UL is being changed from “SDCA” to “National level” i.e. All India level. However, it will remain SDCA for standalone license of VMS/ Audiotex /UMS; and

–The licence fees of the new licensees and existing licensees will be 8 per cent of AGR, which is at par with other licensees of UL.