In what is believed to be a huge respite for telecom operators, the regulating body TRAI has recommended sharing of spectrum of all categories. The move is likely to benefit the major telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
"All access spectrum i.e. spectrum in the bands of 800/900/1800/2100/ 2300/2500 MHz will be sharable provided that both the licensees are having spectrum in the same band," says the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its recommendation on spectrum sharing.
"If any one or both of the licensees, sharing their spectrum, have administratively assigned spectrum (allocated without auction) in that band, then, after sharing, they will be permitted to provide only those services which can be provided through the administratively held spectrum," TRAI recommends.
According to the regulator, spectrum sharing will help in achieving better spectral efficiency. Telecom operators have long demand for liberalising spectrum sharing. The move will help them serve their services in circles they don't have licences as well as increase their spectrum holdings without taking part in auctions.
It's worth pointing out here ban on spectrum sharing decelerated 3G expansion in the country. The telecom operators at various platforms have demanded spectrum sharing as well as more allocation of spectrum.
From customers' point of view, they can expect more efficient services such as lesser call drops and consistent data speeds from the telecom operators. There are possibilities of the tariff going down as well, but the operators aren't very keen on another price war.
That said, recommendations of the regulator need the government nod as well. Of late, there's been several instances of back and forth between the TRAI and DoT, ultimately slowing down the decision making policy. However, with the new government with fresh mindset along with an extensive focus on IT sector, we can expect the decision making process to speed up.