The Department of Telecom will soon write to companies including Idea Cellular and Airtel, which have recently received the Unified Access Services license for cellular operations but are awaiting spectrum release, to start offering fixed line services.
Official sources said the Unified Access Services (UAS) licensing condition provides that once issued, the operators must start other services (fixed line) allowed in the license, if there is no spectrum for mobile services.
Initially, available spectrum will be allotted to a cumulative maximum of upto 4.4 MHz + 4.4 MHz for GSM services and a maximum of 2.5 MHz + 2.5 MHz in case of CDMA-based systems on case-to-case basis, subject to availability.
In this regard, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Dishnet Wireless and Essar Spacetel are the companies who have the UAS license but are yet to start services as DoT is yet to allocate them spectrum. None of these operators have fixed line as a business.
Sources said the onus will be on the operators to start an alternate service if they have taken a license. They should know the licensing conditions well before applying.
DoT has set very well-defined roll-out obligations as per which 10 per cent of the circle has to be covered within a year. By starting the services, these companies can avoid penalty that the department will impose on them for missing the roll-out obligation,