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TRAI wants auction of 800 MHz spectrum in 1.25 MHz block sizes

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NEW DELHI: While noting that the entire available spectrum in the 800 MHz band should be put to auction, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has said Spectrum in the 800 MHz band should be auctioned in a block size of 1.25 MHz.

In its recommendations on the ‘Reserve Price for Auction of Spectrum in the 800 MHz Band’, TRAI said at least one chunk of contiguous 5 MHz spectrum (that is, four carriers) should be carved out before the auction. The carrier reassignment, if required, may be carried out amongst the existing TSPs in the 800 MHz band to make at least four contiguous carriers available.

Alternatively, the NIA for the auction may clearly stipulate that only contiguous blocks of 5 MHz will be sold. However, the reconfiguration of the frequencies should be worked out while auction is underway so that the reassignment is possible to be effected on completion of the auction.

The Department of Telecommunications in a letter on 12 December had sought TRAI’s recommendations on reserve price for 800 MHz band in all the service areas. In this context, TRAI had issued a Consultation Paper on 30 December on “Valuation and Reserve Price of Spectrum” raising specific issues for consideration of stakeholders. The key issues raised were quantum of spectrum to be auctioned, spectrum block-size and methods to be used for valuation and estimation of reserve price of spectrum. Written comments and counter comments were invited from the stakeholders by 15 January and 22 January respectively. 

The comments and counter comments received from the stakeholders were placed on TRAI’s website www.trai.gov.in. An Open House Discussion was conducted by TRAI with all the stakeholders on 27 January at New Delhi.

A new entrant (that is, a TSP) that does not have any spectrum holding in the 800 MHz band must bid for a minimum of four carriers. However, an existing TSP - a TSP having some spectrum holding in the 800 MHz band - should be permitted to bid for a minimum one block of spectrum. New entrants must be assigned the earmarked contiguous carriers only.

The Authority recommends that the reserve price for the forthcoming auction of 800 MHz spectrum should be fixed at 80% of the average valuation. 

The recommended reserve prices for the forthcoming auction are tabulated below:

Table Reserve Price per MHz in 800 MHz Band

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