More reports on: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

Spectrum pricing by mid-Jan for next auction: Trai

22 December 2015

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday said it will come up with its recommendations on spectrum pricing for the next round of auction by mid-January.

"We have open house discussions on 8 January. After that we should be able to give recommendation very soon. Hopefully by mid-January," Trai chairman R S Sharma told PTI.

Telecom regulator Trai has floated a consultation paper on reference made by the government to suggest the base or floor price for all available airwaves for mobile services.

The government had pegged a revenue of Rs42,865.62 crore from communication services that include upfront realisation from spectrum sale and licence fee for the current fiscal year.

According to official source, the government may not be able to commence spectrum auction in the current financial year as there are various processes involved and main procedures will start after Trai submits its suggestions on the pricing.

 Trai is making effort to expedite the process.

The regulator, which started the consultation process last month, said it has issued a paper "to save time" despite non-receipt of complete information on auction from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Official sources, however, said that the delay in spectrum auction this fiscal is unlikely to impact projected revenue from telecom services for this fiscal year.

The deadline for comments on this consultation process ends today and people can submit counter comment by 28 December. Trai has sought public view on price of spectrum in 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 and 2500 MHz Bands.

According to another Trai official, the regulator is yet to receive inputs from DoT on spectrum cap.

"However, we have sought views on new spectrum cap in the consultation paper and will give recommendation on it based on inputs that we receive on the paper," the official said.

Earlier 800, 900 and 1800 Mhz band spectrum were used for providing 2G services but now these can be used for 4G services.

At present, telecom operators use 2100 Mhz band for 3G services. This service can also be provided in 900 Mhz band.

Telecom operators can also use other bands 2300 and 2500 Mhz for 4G services.

The most premium spectrum among all these bands is in 700 Mhz band. As per a Trai paper, spectrum in the 700 MHz band is important to deliver affordable access to broadband, especially in rural areas. It is approximately 70 per cent cheaper to provide mobile broadband coverage at frequencies around 700 MHz than providing 3G service in 2100 MHz band.

The 700 Mhz band spectrum is yet to be auctioned in the country.

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