Telecom Commission to Discuss Spectrum Auction on November 7

Telecom Commission to Discuss Spectrum Auction on November 7
Inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission is scheduled to meet on November 7 to discuss next round of spectrum auction along with broadband project and Trai's recommendation on indoor wireless telephony.

"TC is proposed to meet on November 7 to mainly discuss spectrum auction related issues, NOFN and Trai's recommendation on cordless communications system," an official source told PTI.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, on October 15, gave its recommendation on spectrum auction for premium 900MHz band and 1800MHz band that are presently being used for 2G GSM mobile services by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications.

Government has proposed to put for auction about 184MHz of spectrum in 900MHz band which is held by these companies through their various licences expiring in 2015-16. The four telecom operators will have to buy spectrum afresh to continue their services.

In 1800MHz, government has proposed to auction 104MHz of spectrum which included spectrum held by licences that are expiring in 2015-16 and unsold airwaves in February auction.

The regulator has already given its view on pricing of 800MHz band which is used for CDMA based mobile telephony.

In the coming days, telecom operators will be able to deploy 4G technology in all these spectrum band.

Trai has recommended about 10 percent higher base price for spectrum in 1800MHz band at Rs. 2,138 crore for 18 out of 22 service areas.

It also suggested a price of Rs. 3,004 crore perMHz for the premium 900MHz band, in which mobile signal covered about twice more area than 1800MHz band and hence telecom operators will need to deploy less number of mobile towers for transmitting signals and thus save cost.

For CDMA spectrum, Trai recommended reserve price of Rs. 2,685 crore per megahertz, which is around 50 percent higher than the pan-India base price fixed for its last auction held in March 2013.

DoT has proposed to auction about 57MHz of CDMA spectrum while Trai has suggested that about 169MHz can be made available for the auction after taking back spectrum from public sector units BSNL and MTNL.

Government expects to raise a minimum of Rs. 9,000 crore from auction of three sets of spectrum. An inter-ministerial panel of spectrum auction has suggested conducting auction in February but Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and RCom have written seeking deferring of auction till the time more spectrum, especially that of BSNL and MTNL, is made available.

DoT has also proposed discussing Trai recommendation to free 20MHz of spectrum for cordless telephony for indoor and in small outdoor areas for communication that will reduce telecom bill expenses mainly for business organisations.

However, Defence Ministry has opposed the proposal of freeing up spectrum in the frequency band recommended by the regulator.

TC will also discuss the status of National Optical Fibre Network which is struggling to meet roll out target set by government.

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