COAI Hails Trai's Recommendations on 3G Spectrum Auction

 
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COAI Hails Trai's Recommendations on 3G Spectrum Auction
Industry body COAI on Thursday hailed telecom regulator Trai's recommendation on 3G spectrum auction, saying it will address acute crunch of airwaves faced by operators.

"COAI appreciates the Trai's suggestion to auction the 2100MHz spectrum alongside other bands, as this will help relieve the acute spectrum crunch faced by the operators," Cellular Operators Association of India's Director General Rajan S Mathews said in a statement.

The recommended 3G spectrum base price is about 19 percent lower than what operators paid in 2010.

The 3G spectrum in 2010 had attracted bids worth Rs. 16,750.58 crore for a block of 5MHz frequencies on pan-India basis which amounts to about Rs. 3,350 crore per MHz.

The recommended base price is about four times higher on per megahertz basis when compared to reserve price of Rs. 3,500 crore for 5MHz fixed by the government for last 3G auction.

"The industry is also encouraged with the Trai recommendation regarding auction of the entire 15MHz of spectrum which will be vacated by Defence as has been informed by the Ministry of Defence," the statement said.

Trai has recommended that DoT should put additional 15MHz for auction, which has to be obtained in exchange of spectrum that is with the Defence services.

The Department of Telecom, however, is optimistic of getting 5MHz of 3G spectrum (2100MHz band) from the Defence Ministry.

COAI, however, expressed discomfort with the regulator recommending three year period to roll out network using 3G spectrum that companies will win in upcoming auction.

"We feel that a reduced period of 3 years for completion of roll-out obligations may be strenuous for the operators as roll-outs consist of various aspects including developing the requisite infrastructure, which may pose a challenge for such a short period," COAI said.

The industry body said that DoT has not yet finalised TSTP (Test Schedule Test Procedure), which prescribes the process and method for measurements and tests to be carried out to ensure the required roll-out of the 3G network.

Trai has recommended that DoT should finalise TSTP at the earliest but, in any case, no later than the conduct of the February 2015 auction.
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