TRAI extends deadline for telecom ops to respond on MWA and MWB spectrum allocation

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which has asked stakeholders in the telecom sector to give their views on various issues relating to spectrum for microwave access and backbone access (MWA/BWM), today extended the date for reply to 5 May.


It said, “Keeping in view the request of the stakeholders for extension of time for sending their comments and also the importance of the issue, all the stakeholders may now submit their written comments by 5 May and counter comments by 12 May.’


TRAI had asked various questions in its paper last month, one of them being whether excess spectrum should be withdrawn from existing telecom service providers and what should be the criteria for determining this excess usage.


Following a reference from the Department of Telecom, the regulator issued a consultation paper on the issue of Microwave Access and Backbone (MWA/MWB), and had 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 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).

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