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Procedure , Guidelines and Eligibility to obtain VNO License

Title: Navigating the Path: Procedure, Guidelines, and Eligibility to Obtain VNO License in India

In the ever-evolving landscape of telecommunications, Virtual Network Operators (VNOs) play a pivotal role in extending services and enhancing connectivity. In India, the VNO framework offers opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to participate in the telecom sector without the need for owning the entire network infrastructure. However, diving into this sector requires a clear understanding of the procedures, guidelines, and eligibility criteria for obtaining a VNO license.

Understanding Virtual Network Operators (VNOs)

Before delving into the intricacies of obtaining a VNO license, let’s grasp the concept of VNOs. A Virtual Network Operator is a telecom service provider that does not own the underlying network infrastructure but leases network services from existing telecom operators. VNOs typically focus on providing niche services, catering to specific demographics, or offering innovative solutions.

Procedure for Obtaining VNO License

1. Application Submission:

The first step towards acquiring a VNO license involves submitting an application to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The application must comply with the guidelines set forth by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

2. Scrutiny and Verification:

Once the application is submitted, it undergoes thorough scrutiny and verification by the concerned authorities. This process includes assessing the applicant’s credentials, business plan, financial stability, and adherence to regulatory requirements.

3. Payment of License Fee:

Upon successful scrutiny of the application, the applicant is required to pay the prescribed license fee as per the regulations stipulated by the DoT.

4. Issuance of License:

Following the payment of the license fee, the DoT issues the VNO license to the applicant, granting them the legal authorization to operate as a Virtual Network Operator within the specified jurisdiction.

Guidelines for VNO License Applicants

1. Compliance with Regulatory Requirements:

Applicants must ensure full compliance with the regulatory framework established by the DoT and TRAI. This includes adherence to licensing conditions, tariff regulations, quality of service norms, and consumer protection guidelines.

2. Financial Viability:

Applicants must demonstrate financial stability and feasibility of their business plan. This entails providing detailed financial projections, investment plans, and evidence of sufficient funds to sustain operations.

3. Technical Capability:

VNO license applicants should possess adequate technical expertise and infrastructure to deliver reliable telecom services to end-users. This includes access to network infrastructure, robust IT systems, and competent personnel.

4. Consumer Protection:

Ensuring consumer protection and privacy is paramount for VNOs. Applicants must have mechanisms in place to address customer grievances, safeguard personal data, and uphold transparency in billing and service provision.

Eligibility Criteria for VNO License

1. Corporate Entity:

Applicants must be registered as a legal entity, such as a company or partnership firm, under the relevant laws of India.

2. Financial Soundness:

Applicants should have a sound financial track record, with evidence of adequate capital investment and financial resources to sustain operations.

3. Technical Competence:

Demonstrable technical competence in managing telecom services, including access to network infrastructure, IT resources, and skilled personnel, is essential.

4. Compliance with Foreign Investment Regulations:

In case of foreign investment, applicants must adhere to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) guidelines prescribed by the Government of India.


Obtaining a VNO license in India presents a promising avenue for entrepreneurs and businesses seeking to venture into the telecom sector. By following the prescribed procedures, guidelines, and meeting the eligibility criteria, aspiring VNOs can navigate through the regulatory framework and unlock opportunities to innovate and deliver value-added services in the dynamic telecommunications market. It is imperative for prospective license holders to stay abreast of regulatory updates and industry trends to ensure sustained success and compliance with evolving standards.

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Licensing of Internet Services

1. Internet services were launched in India on 15th August, 1995 by Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited. In November, 1998, the Government opened up the sector for providing Internet services by private operators. A liberal licensing regime was put in place with a view to increase Internet penetration across the country. The New Telecom Policy 1999 envisaged opening up of internet Telephony where upon Government decided to permit ISPs to process and carry voice signals (Restricted Internet Telephony) with effect from 1st April 2002.

2. In the year 2007, the Government decided to issue a single licence under ISP guidelines dated 24.08.07 which permits restricted Internet Telephony for the ISPs under the Internet Service License.

3. Guideline for Unified License (UL) was issued on 19th August 2013. As per UL Guidelines, the authorization for provision of Internet Services is granted under Unified License (UL). The applicant company has to apply for Unified License with authorization for Internet Services.

4. Under the Unified License, there are three Categories of authorizations for Internet Services namely Category ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’. The details are available in the UL Guidelines on DoT website under the Caption ‘Unified License’. The Entry conditions are as below

For more detail please visit the DOT Website https://dot.gov.in/


All Registered OSPs are required to immediately comply with Clause 1(2) of Chapter III of the OSP T & C order dt. 5/8/2008

** DoT / OSP License Compliance – CONDITIONS for DoT / OSP Registration
2. All Registered OSPs are required to immediately comply with Clause 1(2) of Chapter III of the OSP T & C order dt. 5/8/2008 by Uploading the Network Diagram approved by the Telecom Service Providers (TSP) on the ONLINE OSP SYSTEM, by using login password of their company, under ‘Update Registration Details’ against the OSP Registration No. and also submitting the hard copy of the same in respective TERM Cell office for record and verification.