DoT comments on spectrum pricing by March: Secretary

S Ronendra Singh Barceleona | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on February 24, 2016

JS Deepak

The Department of Telecom (DoT) on Wednesday said that it will soon formulate its views, on TRAI’s recommendations on the reserve prices of spectrum to be auctioned in next few months, by March.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) here, JS Deepak, Secretary of DoT, told BusinessLine that “I would be surprised if we are not able to analyse the TRAI recommendations and formulate our views by end of March.”

He said the Department was working for the auction in June/July and considering the recommendations of TRAI.

“Hopefully, we will formulate what should be the policy, the rules for the auction, and get the industry approvals, keeping in mind the timeframe of the auction in June/July,” he said.

Asked about reserve pricings set by TRAI, which the telecom service providers (TSPs) say are too high for some, like the 700 MHz band, Deepak said, “Different people have different views. Some of them want lot of spectrum to be auctioned, some of them feel that some spectrum has very high cost, some feel that reforms are more important, and some feel that regulations should be right.”

He said some basic things the industry needs to understand is that the purpose of this is to carry forward the reform agenda and make it worthwhile for telecom companies to invest more.

“New investments in infrastructure will help them expand, provide better services, and also enable a wider variety of services, which will encourage them to obtain more spectrum, something they have been saying they are short of,” he said.

Also, this will help “to develop a plan for broadband/optical fibre infrastructure, which can be delivered in the long-term, especially to rural areas”, Deepak said.

Asked about the Centre’s key objectives from the upcoming auctions, he said the auction was just one aspect of the Centre’s objectives. The key objective is to have a triple win situation, where the customer gets good quality services at reasonable/affordable rates, operators get spectrum and the right regulations, and reforms take place at the same time, he said.

“There is enough scope to optimise policies, operations, and regulations in a way that customers get good service at affordable rates; operators get ease of doing business, spectrum, right of way; and the government gets secured network and implementation of programmes like ‘Digital India’ to help in education, health and various other initiatives,” he added.

Published on February 24, 2016
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