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Indian Government allows 100% FDI in voice mail
Mar 7, 2001

The Indian government allowed complete foreign ownership of voice mail and Audiotex and eliminated all entry and license fees for these services. However, service providers will have to submit performance bank guarantees of Rs 3 lakh for each license. Existing service providers have also been allowed to migrate to the new licensing regime with effect from April 1, 2001. As per detailed guidelines issued by the Communication Ministry here, the service area for these licenses has been defined as the short distance charging area (SDCA) on the basis of local dialing and the service would be accessible from outside the SDCA on STD call basis.

The new guidelines authorize basic, cellular and cable service providers to provide voice mail and Audiotex services over their networks as value-added services. In essence, the new guidelines eliminate license fees for voice mail and Audiotex services to be provided by these operators. Under the guidelines issued today, any Government or public service agency offering public utility services such as railways, broadcasting and news and media, has been permitted to provide Audiotex services through interactive voice response systems without obtaining any license. The license for operation of voice mail and Audiotex services in the country will be issued on "first-cum-first-served" basis, the statement said pegging the licensing period at 15 years, with provisions for a five-year extension. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will govern the tariffs for these services. Taken from Financial Times, February 28, 2001

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