New Delhi: The Department of Telecom will take a final view on 24 May on sector regulator Trai’s spectrum auction recommendations which have been roundly criticised by operators for steep hike in base price.
“Since Trai has given its final recommendation, we will have Telecom Commission meet on 24 May. Then, DoT will take final decision at Minister level and the same will be conveyed to EGoM,” DoT Secretary R Chandrashekhar told PTI.
Chandrashekhar is also Chairman of Telecom Commission, the the apex decision making body of DoT.
DoT has placed several queries, raised by Telecom Commission, before Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on its recommendation of spectrum auction and new licences that are to be issued in future.
TRAI issued its final recommendation and clarification to DoT on Sunday.
In its response, Trai today stood by its recommendation of base price of Rs 3,622 crore per megahertz for auction of 1800 Mhz band, saying that it will lead to only 4 paisa per minute tariff hike that can be absorbed by operators.
In India, 1800 Mhz and 900 Mhz band are used to deliver 2G services using GSM technology and 800 Mhz band by utilising CDMA technology.
However, it offered some relief in the reserve price 800 Mhz band on grounds that there is very less spectrum available in this band, which is not enough to provide benefit of spectrum liberalisation to the players using this band.
Trai has said that it “would be open to the Government fixing the Reserve price of 800 MHz spectrum at 1.3 times the 1800 MHz reserve price. This is only where 5 MHz spectrum is not being made available.”
This new price of 800 Mhz will give relief to the successful bidder in five telecom services areas of the country where less than 5 Mhz spectrum is available. For rest of the 17 telecom service area, reserve price for 800 Mhz band will be two times the price of 1800 Mhz band.
Trai also did not differ on its stand for refarming of 900 Mhz spectrum, but reiterated the need to create Spectrum Refarming Fund to compensate existing users of the frequencies in these band for upgradation of their equipments.
This is one of the major concern for old GSM players, mainly Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, as cost of infrastructure increases for providing mobile services through high spectrum band compared to low frequencies.