The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has declined the department of telecom's (DoT) demand that it make recommendations on pricing 800MHz CDMA spectrum within the next 15 days.
The telecom sector regulator has said it has already given its views on the issue twice and that the DoT will have to make a `fresh and new' view if it wants the TRAI to give recommendations on 800 MHz spectrum band afresh.
In its communication dated 14 November, TRAI said it has completed the task of giving recommendations on the valuation and reserve price of spectrum that would be auctioned in January next year, and that the ''original reference is over and done with''.
''There can be no continuing reference to that earlier reference. It is now for the central government to take a final decision,'' TRAI secretary Rajeev Agarwal said in his communication to DoT secretary MF Farooqui (See: TRAI firm on lower auction reserve price for spectrum).
The TRAI had, earlier, recommended against auctioning of the 800 MHz band and had suggested that it be used for GSM services.
This frequency band is currently used by CDMA operators, including Sistema Shyam, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices. These operators have objected to the TRAI proposal on the grounds that it would block their future roll out.
The Telecom Commission decided to overrule TRAI on the grounds that keeping spectrum in the 800 MHz band unsold would result in foregone revenues for the government (See: Telecom Commission suggests hiking of spectrum prices).
The Telecom Commission, which is the highest decision making body in DoT, wants to finalise the base price for this 800 MHz band well ahead of the January 2014 auction so that it can be put up for auction along with 1800 MHz and 900 MHz bands.