TRAI sticks to stand on spectrum auction

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 24, 2014 Published on November 24, 2014

Says DoT must improve airwave supply before auction

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday stuck to its stand that the next round of spectrum auction should not be held unless there is enough spectrum.

The TRAI said that spectrum the 2100 MHz band should be made available for commercial use. It also added that 1.2 MHz spectrum in 900 MHz band should be taken back from BSNL

“For the past 7 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 Authority, therefore, after careful consideration, took the view that this needs resolution at the highest political levels as there are limits to official level institutional capacities especially as there are choices to be made between civil and defence priorities.

“We must have the honesty of purpose to recognise when the bureaucracy has run out of mileage,” TRAI said.

The Department of Telecom had sought clarifications from TRAI on its recommendations regarding pricing and valuation of 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz airwaves.

TRAI said it will reply separately to specific DoT queries on 800 MHz band auction. However, it reiterated its stand on adoption of extended GSM band for efficient utilisation of spectrum in this band.

‘Defence must move band’

On the Defence’s spectrum, TRAI said that it is not aware whether the Government has consulted with Defence about their actual utilisation of the spectrum and the possibility of its vacation. But, said that Defence should move to its designated band and vacate spectrum earmarked for commercial use. It also said that a definite timeframe for this move needs to be decided in coordination with Defence.

“The authority is of the view that the matter needs to be taken up with Defence at the highest level. In case it is not possible to immediately fix any time-frame for migration, it has to be made clear to Defence that, in the meanwhile, the spectrum in the Defence band cannot be kept unutilised,” it said.

Unutilised spectrum is a waste of a scarce natural resource and also entails a recurring revenue loss to the Government, it added.

Published on November 24, 2014
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