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  • Sonia Karki

Machine-to-Machine Communication- an overview

What is Machine to Machine (M2M) communication?

M2M stands for "machine-to-machine" and refers to the communication between devices using wireless or wired connections. M2M technology is used in various industries, including healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing.

How are M2M Services defined?

“M2M Services” means the services offered through a connected network of objects/devices, with unique identifiers, in which Machine to Machine (M2M) communication is possible with predefined back-end platform(s) either directly or through some gateway.

Explanation: M2M services involve communication of end device/ object with predefined back-end platform(s) either directly or through some gateway. Examples of M2M services include fleet management, supply chain management, agriculture automation, smart utilities including power, water, gas etc. The M2M end devices/ objects and the platform(s) collecting and analyzing information from these devices/ objects are controlled by the same organization.

Regulatory Overview

Over the past few years, the government has been developing a regulatory framework for the M2M ecosystem. The Indian government has also taken multiple initiatives to promote digitalisation in India with its programmes such as Make in India, Digital India, and along the same lines, M2M communication of the IoT devices is going to play a significant role. Recently, the Networks & Technology (NT) wing, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued guidelines regulating this category of service providers:

  1. Registration of M2MSP & WPAN/ WLAN CP for providing M2M Services

  2. Unified License (UL)/ Unified License (Virtual Network Operator) {UL (VNO)} license with M2M service authorisation

Registration of M2MSP & WPAN/ WLAN CP for providing M2M Services

  • The first category of registration will be for the M2M Service Providers, who are generally the companies providing M2M services to third parties using telecom resources taken from an authorized TSP in India. The third parties can use these M2M services for their own use with in-house products and services. The M2MSP can also take the registration to provide M2M service internally for their own use. For M2M services with sim-enabled devices, records of which must be maintained by the M2MSPs.

  • The second category of registration will be for the WPAN/ WLAN Connectivity Providers, who shall provide M2M connectivity to self or third parties using unlicensed frequencies. They can use unlicensed frequency bands by connecting to a licensed TSP’s infrastructure for backhaul connectivity.

These service providers will specifically target sectors like agriculture, healthcare, smart city, safety and surveillance, wearable devices, financial/ retail (ATM, PoS, smart kiosk), intelligent transport system etc.

The entities can apply for the registration of M2MSP or WPAN/ WLAN CP by filing an application online through DoT’s portal ‘Saral Sanchar’ with a non-refundable application processing fees of Rs 5000/- separately.

UL/UL (VNO) license with M2M service authorization

The service providers who shall have their own underlying telecom connectivity & related services for M2MSPs shall have to apply for the UL/ UL (VNO) license with M2M service authorisation. These licensees can offer services to M2MSPs in unlicensed frequency bands. Moreover, the licensees having such license can also use backhaul/ access spectrum of its NSO(s) to provide M2M services under licensed bands. This license is granted under three different categories namely Category ‘A’ for National Area, Category ‘B’ for Telecom Circle/Metro Area and Category ‘C’ for Secondary Switching Area (SSA).

It can also be applied via online application filing in the Saral Sanchar portal. In addition, apart from the application processing fees all the fees payable under the UL/ UL (VNO) such as Entry Fee, License Fee, Bank Guarantees shall be applicable based on the category of the license.

For any support w.r.t. applying for registration/ license on the SARAL SANCHAR portal and a thorough consultation on the regulations, please reach out to us at


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