Telecom stakeholders’ views sort over MWA and MWB spectrum allocation and pricing

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 28 March asked stakeholders in the telecom sector to give their views on whether excess spectrum should be withdrawn from existing telecom service providers and whether what should be the criteria for determining this excess usage.


Following a reference from the Department of Telecom (DoT), the regulator issued a consultation paper on the issue of Microwave Access and Backbone (MWA/MWB), and has sought the views by 21 April with counter-comments by 28 April.


TRAI has sought to know the number of Microwave Access and Backbone (MWA/MWB) carriers that should be assigned to a TSP deploying 2G technology only, 3G technology only, BWA technology only, both 2G and 3G technologies, 2G and BWA technologies and 2G, 3G and BWA technologies.


The charging of MWA and MWB carriers is regulated by the AGR based annual spectrum usage charges notified in the DoT’s orders of 3 November 2006, its amendments dated 10 November 2008 and 19 February 2009. However, these orders were set aside by a judgment of the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) of 22 April 2012 and are now sub-judice in view of an appeal by the government before the Supreme Court. As an interim arrangement, the DoT has issued guidelines in respect of allotment of MWA carriers for BWA services through its order of 16 March 2012. TRAI had been asked to give its recommendations on certain issues in a letter sent by the DoT on 26 November 2012.


According to TRAI, Microwave transmission refers to the technology of transmitting information using radio waves. Microwave technology is widely deployed in mobile communications to provide point-to-point (PTP) Radio Frequency (R.F.) links in mobile backhaul as well as in the backbone network. Mobile backhaul is that portion of the network infrastructure that provides interconnectivity between the access and core networks. The backbone network is used to interconnect different nodes situated at different geographical locations.


For PTP links, microwave frequencies are generally assigned in blocks of 2x28 MHz, known as microwave carriers. There are two types of microwave carriers viz. Microwave Access (MWA) Carriers and Microwave Backbone (MWB) Carriers. 


TRAI wants to know from stakeholders the number of MWA/MWB carriers that should be assigned to TSPs in case of 2G, 3G and BWA at the start of their services [at beginning of rolling of services].


Some of the other questions to which views have been sought are:


1.      What should be the preferred basis of assignment of MWA/MWB carriers to the TSPs i.e. ‘exclusive basis assignment’ or ‘link-to-link based assignment’?


2.      In case ‘exclusive basis’ assignment is preferred, whether MWA and MWB carriers should be assigned administratively or through auction.


3. In case ‘link-to-link basis’ assignment is preferred, how the carrier assignment for different links should be carried out, particularly in nearby locations?


4. Considering the fact that different TSPs may require additional carriers at different point of time, what should be the assignment criteria for allocation of additional carriers for MWA and MWB?


5. How can it be ensured that spectrum carriers assigned are used optimally and the TSPs are encouraged to move towards the OFC?


6. Should an upfront charge be levied on the assignment of MWA or MWB carriers, apart from the annual spectrum charges?


7. What should be the pricing mechanism for MWA and MWB carriers? Should the annual spectrum charges be levied as a percentage of AGR or on link-by-link basis or a combination of the two?


8. In case of percentage AGR based pricing, is there any need to change the existing slabs prescribed by the DoT in 2006 and 2008?


9. In case link-by-link based charging mechanism is adopted then:

(a) Should the spectrum be priced differently for different MW spectrum bands (6GHz/7GHz/13GHz/15GHz/18GHz/21 GHz/26GHz/28GHz/32GHz/42 GHz etc) and the formula for such charges

(b) What are the factors that should appear in the formula?


10. Should the option of assignment of MWA carriers in all the spectrum bands in 6-42 GHz range be explored in line with other countries? What are the likely issues in its assignment MWA carriers in these additional spectrum bands?


11. In your opinion, what is the appropriate time for considering assignment of MWA carriers in higher frequency bands viz. E-band and V-band?


12. Should E-band be fully regulated or there should be light touch regulations?


13. What charging/pricing mechanism would be appropriate for these bands?

Latest Reads

Big deals happening in telecom towers

Valuation in the business of telecom towers has averaged out over the past decade when the sector witnessed a battery of PE firms negotiate deals in India. There have been, over the past year, a few large deals in the sector.

iWorld Telecom
Jio-Apple strike a win-win deal as Airtel plans aggressive 4G offer

MUMBAI: Even as Reliance Jio is giving a tough fight to the market leader Airtel, and other leading incumbent operators Vodafone and Idea, it is making significant tie-ups with cell-phone makers to up its 4G gameplan. Substantial investments are being made in high-speed telecom networks in India,...

iWorld Telecom
Planetcast forays into OTT segment

Planetcast Media Services Limited (formerly Essel Shyam Communication Limited) today announced its foray into OTT segment by introducing its OTT solution targeted towards existing broadcasters and non-TV content owners. Planetcast OTT is a new, turnkey OTT solution for media companies, publishers...

iWorld Over The Top Services
Bittree's redesigned website has real-time price quoting tool

Bittree, a leading manufacturer of high-quality audio and video patchbays and patching systems, has announced launching of a redesigned website. The new web portal, Bittree.com, improves upon their already responsive and user-friendly experience with enhanced technical data on all their products...

iWorld eNews
Q4-16: Apple Services clocks 24 per cent growth, Other Products revenue falls

BENGALURU: Apple Inc (Apple) Services product recorded a 24.4 percent year-over-year (y-o-y) growth in revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q4-16, current quarter) amidst a 9 percent y-o-y fall in total revenues. Apple Services includes revenue from Internet Services, AppleCare, Apple...

iWorld Over The Top Services
Content piracy making b’casters invest in good tech for security: Tata Communications VP Brian Morris

Somebody had aptly said that a new development brings along with it not only benefits, but also various downsides. If technology is opening up new frontiers of content delivery to consumers, the menace of content piracy too is rising globally. So, it’s almost always a race against time to find...

iWorld eNews
Voot to stream Big Boss's 'Unseen Undekha' videos

Viacom18's OTT platform, Voot, will showcase exclusive content of its reality show Bigg Boss 10. The on-demand destination has developed a special space called Unseen Undekha wherein users can stream videos of any celebrity or commoner of their choice from inside the house anytime.

iWorld Over The Top Services
IoT is risk to networks; Netflix, PayPal, Twitter and Amazon temporarily shut in cyber attack

MUMBAI: Nobody is safe until everybody is safe, it is said. The most hyped and happening currency in the world of communication as well as the best weaponry in the wireless world -- the Internet -- was under attack. Cyber attackers can DDoS (Distributed denial of service) for a range of purposes,...

iWorld e-commerce
Interconnect tussle: Vodafone, Airtel, Idea may move court against proposed Rs 3,000-cr penalty

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) plans to impose a heavy penalty on three major telecom operators for failing to provide adequate interconnectivity to RJio even as operators attempted to comply with the rules. Jio had written to the TRAI seeking action against incumbent...

iWorld Telecom

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories