Spectrum shortage issue to be resolved before February auctions?

Will the government address the long pending demand for allocation of more spectrum for the telecom operators? Allocation of more spectrum, operators claim, will enable them provide better and faster services to customers.

Published Date
25 - Nov - 2014
| Last Updated
25 - Nov - 2014
Spectrum shortage issue to be resolved before February auctions?

Telecom operators have long demanded allocation of more spectrum in order to improve their services. New round of spectrum auctions are just around the corner while the telecom department is under pressure to resolve the issue of spectrum shortage. However, if telecom regulator (TRAI) has its way, the forthcoming auctions may see release of more spectrum.

“... spectrum availability in India for commercial use, as a whole is about the lowest in the world … It is important to recognise that auctions are not the only way spectrum is allocated. Even in jurisdictions where far larger quantities of spectrum are available for commercial deployment, different approaches are being taken,” the TRAI is quoted as saying.

“For the past seven years (or more) a dialogue has taken place between the DoT and ministry of defence to release additional quantities of spectrum. To be perfectly candid, this dialogue has gone nowhere, i.e. it has remained inconclusive.”

The latest statement from the regulator comes shortly after telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held talks with defence ministry over the issue releasing of mobile airwaves. It's notable defense sector has spectrum in 1,700-2,000 MHz band and in the 2,100 MHz (3G) bands.

Another controversy that has been surrounding the forthcoming spectrum auctions is the base price. The regulator says it stands by its recommendations on spectrum pricing, which is 10 percent higher than the previous auction. It also recommended withdrawing airwaves from BSNL and defence. Earlier, the department of telecom had returned TRAI's recommendations on pricing for another review.

"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," Trai is quoted as saying.