Millennium Post

TRAI reiterates its proposals on spectrum auction

The Department of Telecom (DoT) had sought clarifications from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on its recommendations regarding pricing and valuation of 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz airwaves.

‘After considering the comments given by DoT, the Authority has furnished its response to the government. The Authority has reiterated its earlier recommendations with detailed reasoning,’ TRAI said in a statement.

The regulator said it will reply separately to specific DoT queries on 800 Mhz band auction. It, however, reiterated its stand on adoption of E-GSM for efficient utilisation of spectrum in this band.

TRAI said more than a year has passed since September 2013 when it had recommended that adoption of E-GSM should be explored in a time-bound manner and spectrum in 800 MHz band has not been auctioned till date.

‘The Authority had recommended that the DoT should not summarily reject the recommendation on a cursory examination without first fully exploring the feasibility of the adoption of EGSM for efficient utilisation of spectrum in the 800 MHz band,’ TRAI said.

TRAI had suggested about 10 per cent higher base price than what was received in February auction.
The next round of spectrum auction is proposed to be held in February 2015 from which government is estimated to garner at least Rs 9,355 crore.

Most of the spectrum which is proposed to be put up for sale is being used by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications across various parts of the country.

These companies will need to buy back radiowaves to continue their operations in areas where their licences are expiring in 2015-16.

The regulator said there is no change in the reserve prices for spectrum in 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz bands from what were recommended earlier. The DoT had sought clarifications regarding the methodology for arriving at the reserve price and suggested applying the same method used in the February auction for determining the spectrum base price in the next round of sale of radiowaves as well.

The regulator reiterated its recommendation to take back 1.2 Mhz of 900 Mhz spectrum from BSNL, utilising idle 1800 MHz spectrum in the Defence band and vacating spectrum held in excess of 20 MHz by Defence in 1800 MHz band.
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