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Spectrum sharing may soon become a reality for telcos

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NEW DELHI: After receiving some clarifications from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Government is understood to be giving last minute touches to a policy of sharing of airwaves, or radio frequency spectrum, among operators.

While the Telecom Commission has cleared the policy, a cabinet note is being prepared to get approval of the Union Cabinet.

TRAI has said that it can improve cellphone services, check call drops and also lower tariffs.

“We have finalised our view on spectrum-sharing and trading guidelines. We will try to send the norms to the Cabinet by the month-end,” Telecom secretary Rakesh Garg said after a meeting of an inter-ministerial panel to deliberate on the issue.

TRAI had in July last year made its suggestions under which two licensees in an area with the same band of spectrum could pool or trade this scarce resource. “The basic objective of spectrum sharing is to provide an opportunity to telecom service providers to pool their spectrum holdings and gain better spectral efficiency. Spectrum sharing would involve both the service providers utilising the spectrum,” the regulator said while ruling out leasing of spectrum permitted.

Following the recommendations and comments from the operators, the Commission had sought some clarifications from TRAI in April.

In March this year, the government had conducted e-auction of spectrum for telecom operators that spanned 19 days and got a record commitment of nearly Rs 110,000 crore.

Radio frequency spectrum is a band of electromagnetic airwaves, used to transmit signals. The mobile phone you make and receive calls from, the FM radio, the TV programmes you watch or the GPRS devices you use, all function by receiving and transmitting these invisible signals.

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