India lets broadband providers offer voice services

India's Telecom Commission approves move to let companies with wireless broadband airwaves also offer voice services for a US$306 million fee, which could heighten competition with telcos.

Wireless broadband holders in India can now offer voice services, for a fee of US$306 million, after the country's Telecom Commission approved the move. 

India's wireless broadband airwaves holders can now offer voice services for a US$306 million fee.

R. Chandrashekhar, chairman of commission, said service provider that own broadband wireless access (BWA) airwaves can provide voice services along with high-speed Internet if they fork out a US$306 million fee, the Economic Times reported Monday. "There is no restriction on the technology that is being used [to provide voice services]," Chandrashekhar said.

The Telecom Commission, which is the highest decision-making body within the ministry, approved the move on Monday but it has yet to be formally signed off by the Telecoms Minister, he added.

This move will likely be cheered by Reliance Industries, currently the only company in India with nationwide LTE airwaves for which it has invested at least US$3.5 billion thus far, according to the report. Reliance Industries is still preparing to launch its 4G services. If it enters the voice market, competition will intensify among rivals such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India, the report said.