NEW DELHI: An internal panel of the Department of Telecom
(DoT) has recommended that the note from the Information and
Broadcasting Ministry seeking exemption from auction for spectrum
to be allocated to Prasar Bharti be referred to the Telecom
Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Prasar Bharati said "Spectrum to Prasar Bharti would
be allocated on rates fixed by Government of India."
Meanwhile, a committee has been set up to examine the conditions
for allotment of airwaves through routes other than auction,
according to Minister of State for Communications and Information
Technology Milind Deora.
The DoT panel will examine various issues related to allotment
and pricing of spectrum, "Including conditions which
need to be satisfied in order to adopt auction as the preferred/sole
mode of allotment of spectrum, conditions and types of spectrum
for which administrative allotment of spectrum should be adopted
as the norm," Deora said in Parliament earlier this week.
Telecom minister Kapil Sibal had earlier said that adopting
auction route every time for allocating spectrum "does
not make sense" and that the cabinet would decide on
the issue based on the committee's report.
It is also learnt that the DoT may seek sector regulator
TRAI's views on the process to be adopted for allocation of
spectrum to telecom operators without auction, following the
draft recommendation in this regard by its internal committee.
The last spectrum allocation through administrative process
for mobile telephony was done in 2009. But later it was put
on hold following series of controversial reports regarding
spectrum allocation made in 2008 for 122 2G telecom licenses.
Later, the Supreme Court in its judgment on February 2, 2012
cancelled these licenses and asked government to allocate
the freed spectrum through auction.
DoT formed an internal committee to look into conditions
where auction cannot be always suitable for spectrum allocation.
This is especially in cases like allocation of small amount
of airwaves to telecom operators who were earlier allocated
4.4 megahertz of frequencies to bring them in sync with new
rules of five Mhz spectrum allocation, or for duration in
between their license period of 20 years.
DoT's Committee on Allotment/Assignment and Pricing of Spectrum,
in its draft report, is learnt to have suggested that the
department seek recommendation of TRAI on the matter of spectrum
assignment and allocation meant for commercial use without
auction. The committee in its report said the reference to
TRAI be made on "terms of reference of the committee
- conditions which need to be satisfied in order to adopt
auction as the preferred or sole mode of allotment/assignment
of spectrum for the services." The committee, however,
has suggested that airwaves frequencies allocated to organisations
for internal use need not be referred to the sector regulator.