Incremental SUC rate should apply on holding in specific band: TRAI

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 17, 2020

Regulator’s clarification will help telecom service providers manage their spectrum as per need and on a commercial basis

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday clarified that the stipulated increment of 0.5 per cent on spectrum usage charges (SUC) rate should apply only on spectrum holding in the specific band where sharing is taking place, not on the entire spectrum holding of the licensee.

The authority has also recommended that suitable exit clauses for intimation of termination of an existing spectrum-sharing arrangement by the telecom service providers (TSPs) should be included in the spectrum sharing guidelines.

The latest clarification from the regulator would help the TSPs to manage their spectrum as per need and on commercial basis.

“Most of the stakeholders submitted that the increment of 0.5 per cent of SUC rate on shared spectrum is a strong deterrent for TSPs to enter into spectrum sharing arrangements, and strongly goes against the efficient utilisation of the spectrum; therefore, should be done away with,” TRAI said. The recommendations are the outcome of a consultation paper — “Methodology of applying spectrum usage charges under the weighted average method of SUC assessment in cases of spectrum sharing” — floated by TRAI in April. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) also informed that it has received representations requesting that incremental SUC rate of 0.5 per cent cost sharing should be applied only to the particular spectrum band which has been allowed to be shared between the two licensees and not on the entire spectrum held by licensees, since sharing is allowed in a particular band.

It is in this background that the DoT has requested TRAI to furnish its recommendations on whether the incremental 0.5 per cent in SUC rate in cases of sharing of spectrum should be applied only on the specific band in which sharing is taking place or on the overall weighted average rate of SUC, which has been derived from all bands.

Published on August 17, 2020

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