The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has refuted telecom minister A Raj's claim that the 2G spectrum allocation was done on a first-come-first-served basis, as per its recommendations, and that it should instead have been auctioned.
TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra also said the review of termination charge, as suggested by the minister, cannot be undertaken separately because it is part of the Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC). He said the telecom regulator will soon issue a consultation paper on this.
Raja had recently said that the DoT has asked TRAI to review the termination charge and that a lowering of the termination charges could lead to a fall in tariffs.
Misra refuted Raja's claim and said the TRAI had, in fact, recommended auctioning of 2G licences but the telecom department chose to ignore its suggestion.
Instead of leaving spectrum allocation to market forces, the DoT went ahead with the first-come-first-serve (FCFS) basis to allot 2G licences to new players, TRAI said.
Speaking at a round table on 'India Telecom Landscape 2012', organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Misra said he was of the opinion that the start-up spectrum should have been auctioned.
''We had recommended a mechanism for giving licences which must capture the market price. The DoT had not sought our views on whether spectrum was to be auctioned or not,'' he said.
The DoT had earlier stated in reply to the central vigilance commission (CVC) that it had gone by the guidelines laid by TRAI.
Telecom minister A Raja has been under attack for favouring a few players for granting 2G spectrum licences and for selectively quoting TRAI recommendations to push its own views.
But Misra said DoT had bypassed TRAI's initial recommendation and did not adopt the auction route.
Misra said the process of spectrum management should be predictable, stabe and transparent. ''The entire decision-making mechanism in the telecom sector should be in the public domain,'' said Misra.