On 30 November 2016, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (“TRAI”) had released a Consultation Paper on “Issues Related to closure of Access Services”. This was released as a result of great inconvenience being caused to subscribers while accessing Access Services, which was in turn caused due to licensee (the service providers) failing to re-acquire spectrum post expiry, changing technology, or selling/trading their spectrum without informing the customers. On the basis of the comments received from the various stakeholders in response to the above-mentioned Consultation Paper, the TRAI has released the following recommendations:
- The inclusion of various time-lines to be followed by the DoT and the Licensee in the spectrum trading process. If the entire spectrum in all bands is being sold by a licensee, which will result in discontinuation of services, recommended timelines will remove uncertainties and facilitate the TSPs to give 60 days’ notice to DoT/TRAI and 30 days’ notice to its subscribers.
- If a UAS licensee decides to close down its wireless access services, which were being provided through the administratively assigned spectrum, it must surrender such spectrum immediately upon closure of wireless access services.
- In case of closure of access services through any technology in the entire service area or a part of it, the TSP should be mandated to give a 60 days’ notice to the Licensor and TRAI and 30 days’ notice to its effected subscribers.