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TRAI stands by its recommendations on spectrum pricing

TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India stands by its recommendations on the pricing of spectrum. Earlier the regulator has suggested 10 percent higher rate than the previous auction taking back airwaves from BSNL and defence. However, DoT has sent the recommendations back to TRAI sighting that they cannot be implemented in the present situation.

As reported by PTI, TRAI said in a statement, “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.”

The recommendations from the regulator will now be submitted to the Telecom Commission. The regulator submitted its recommendations on the pricing of 1800MHz and 900MHz spectrum bands, used for 2G services, for the upcoming auction. The regulator has stated that, there will be no change in the pricing of spectrum in 900MHz and 1800MHz bands spectrum.

The Department of Telecom has asked the regulator about the methodology adopted in arriving at the reserve price. DoT states that by using the same method of TRAI will further increase the base price by 3-20 percent across some circles compared to the rates suggested by the regulator. It has also returned the recommendation of TRAI given for 800MHz (CDMA) spectrum band auction in February for reconsidering some points.

Speaking about the regulator said that, it will reply separately to DoT about its queries related to the 800 MHz band. However, the regulator maintains its stand on the first fully exploring the feasibility of the adoption of E-GSM for efficient utilisation of spectrum in the 800MHz band. Talking about the E-GSM band, DoT said that the band has to be vacated by the Defence to make it available for auction and the process will take some time.

As per the PTI report, TRAI reiterated its recommendation to get back the 1.2MHz of 900MHz spectrum from BSNL, and utilise the idle 1800MHz spectrum in the defence band and vacating spectrum held in excess of 20MHz by Defence in 1800MHz band. The regulator further commented, “The Authority reiterated that dialogue needs to be held at the level of Finance Minister, Minister of Communications and IT and the Defence Minister to ensure the availability of additional spectrum for commercial use.”

DoT said that it had no authority to take back the spectrum from BSNL as per the license agreement. To this the regulator said that BSNL was given spectrum in 900MHz band administratively and free of charge. Also, it is a state-owned firm, and the government has right to take the spectrum back.

TRAI has also said that, the supply of the spectrum should be increased as any constraint of spectrum acts as a real threat to the continuity of services. The regulator has also suggested the government to provide with the roadmap for spectrum auction in the 700 MHz band.

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Heena Gupta

A reader at heart, this girl loves to express through writing. Her ears perk up as soon as she senses any tech molecule in the air. With the ability to use and navigate typical technologies she becomes a complete tech enthusiast. This post graduate in Mass Communication lives in the world of gadgets. Fiction, history and cartoons keep her busy in the free time. Her urge to grow mixed with excellent writing skills forces us to have her as a part of our workforce.

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