In this article we provide information on types of VNO License categories in India for running ISP business.


The Government of India has come up with one license for all telecom related services, known as a Unified License. Under unified license, the license holder can apply for authorization of different services & service areas. To become an ISP, one must either acquire a Unified License under which he will obtain ISP Authorization for providing ISP services or VNO Authorization. To know the difference between the two, click here.

One company can hold only one Unified License, but can apply for ISP / VNO authorization of multiple services and/or service areas. However, the tenure of such authorizations will run concurrently with the tenure of the Unified License, which means that all authorizations will be valid only till the validity of the unified license.

In India, there are 3 categories of VNO license authorizations under the Unified License to become an internet service provider and set up an ISP franchise in India, depending upon scale or the City/State/Town/District/Village you want to start your ISP business in.

The 3 categories are differentiated by the scale of the territory/coverage area of the VNO license i.e. whether the License is for (i) national area, (ii) major states / metro cities or (iii) other smaller  cities, towns, villages and districts.

The 3 VNO License Categories in India are:

  1. Class A (National Area) – This license is for Pan India operations.
  2. Class B (Telecom Circle/Metro Area)  – Class B license is issued for a total of 20 major states  or any of the following Metro Cities – Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai.
    The govt keeps issuing notifications regarding territories declared as telecom circles and metro areas from time to time.
  3. Class C (Secondary Switching Area) – This license is for only a particular secondary switching area. A secondary switching area is a government defined territory which could comprise of several small villages, towns or even districts. A class C license holder will have access to any 1 particular SSA only, unless he applies for multiple authorizations under one unified License.

To see the list of secondary switching areas in India, click here.

Naturally, a Class A VNO license would be quite expensive, followed by Class B & C respectively.

Click here to know the costs.(add link)

Click here to know how to apply for any one of the VNO License Categories

Need an ISP consultant to help you with your ISP License Application? Click here