The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said today that it would give its final recommendations on caps on mobile bandwidth held by operators, a one-time charge for 'extra' 2G spectrum held by operators, and linking it with the 3G prices in two or three weeks.
"When we gave our recommendations to the government in May 2010 we had said that we are studying the issue (linking 2G price with 3G price). We have not asked for any extension. We expect to give recommendations in two-three weeks," TRAI chairman J S Sarma said in New Delhi.
In May, TRAI suggested that the government charge mobile telephony providers a one-off fee for exceeding a certain amount of bandwidth for second-generation services. It said the fee should be linked to the value of third-generation bandwidth, which was auctioned in May.
Bids for 3G bandwidth were much higher than the price companies paid for bandwidth to offer 2G services, and top operators on the GSM platform, including Bharti Airtel Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd and Vodafone Essar Ltd, have opposed the proposals. The operators say that all spectrum allocations have been made as per the policy and there is no extra spectrum with the operators.
TRAI had previously asked telecom companies for their views by 15 June and said it would also consult with other experts - a process it expected to complete by 15 July.
Asked about media solicitor general Gopal Subramanium's comment that the telecom ministry can change the terms and conditions of existing licences and the TRAI's recommendations are not binding on the government, Sarma said, "I have seen it in the media today. I don't know what the opinion is about so I don't want to comment on that. It's the question of the Act there are certain provisions in the Act and one goes by those provisions."
On the amendment in the TRAI Act, Sarma said, "The issue of amendment in the Act is under consideration by the government. They have recently referred to us for our comments. We are considering the matter. We will tell the government what amendment we require. The regulator will continue to be guided by the provisions of TRAI Act 1997."
The proposed amendment bill is to remove a perceived inconsistency in the qualifications of the chairperson and other members of TRAI.