TRAI says get spectrum from Defence, denies Govt. has no authority to ask BSNL to return unused spectrum

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern that the constrained supply of spectrum poses a real threat to the continuity of services being provided to millions of subscribers by the expiry licensees, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has reiterated its earlier recommendation for a dialogue at the level of the Ministers for Finance, Communications, Defence to ensure the availability of additional spectrum for commercial use.


In a letter to the Telecom Secretary, the Authority has said the non-availability of sufficient spectrum is the biggest impediment to the realisation of the stated goals in NTP- 2012 for broadband proliferation. The Authority re-emphasised the need to increase the supply of spectrum.


The letter was in response to the DoT’s reference of 14 November seeking some clarifications on recommendations on Valuation and Reserve Price of Spectrum Licenses expiring in 2015-16 sent on 15 October.  


There is no change in the reserve prices for spectrum in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands from what were recommended earlier.


The   Authority reiterated that steps should be  taken to  make available additional spectrum in  the  900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands by  taking back 1.2  MHz of 900 MHz spectrum from BSNL,  utilising idle  1800 MHz spectrum in  the  Defence band and vacating spectrum held in excess of 20 MHz by Defence in the 1800 MHz ban.


The Authority's recommendation for the implementation of E-GSM band is one of the ways to enhance the supply of 900 MHz band spectrum which is considered by operators (the market) to be the most valuable spectrum. The option needs to be given serious consideration by the government.


In the 2100 MHz band, an additional 3 blocks of 2x5 MHz of spectrum can be made available by swapping spectrum in this band with Defence which can be assigned spectrum in the 1900 MHz   band (1910-1920/1980-1990 MHz).


The spectrum in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands should be auctioned together (simultaneously). Uncertainty would continue if auction of spectrum in the 2100 MHz is taken up later.


The government should announce its decision on the adoption of APT700 band plan. It should also announce the roadmap for the auction of spectrum in 700 MHz band. This should be done before the conduct of the upcoming auctions in 900/1800 MHz band. These two decisions will help in the faster development of the device eco-system. It will also help TSPs to take an informed decision when bidding for the upcoming auction in 800/900/1800 MHz bands.


The Authority had recommended that 1.2 MHz spectrum in 900 MHz band should be taken back from BSNL from all the LSAs where licences expire in 2015-16 except in Punjab. In lieu, BSNL should be assigned 1.2 MHz in the 1800 MHz band only in those LSAs where its spectrum holding in that band is less than 3.8 MHz in this band i.e. in Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal. However, the DoT said it had no jurisdiction to take back spectrum from BSNL to which TRAI has said the PSUs (MTNL/BSNL) were awarded the spectrum in the 900 MHz band administratively and free of charge. Both the PSUs are government-owned companies and the government has every right to take the spectrum back from them if they are not using it optimally and efficiently. “It is inexplicable to take the stand that the government, being a sovereign and as owner of the PSU companies cannot resume spectrum given to the PSUs free of charge.” Besides, the DoT, being the licensor, has to ensure that spectrum is put to optimal use and an operator does not squat on invaluable spectrum.


In this context, TRAI said it was worth recalling that being government companies, the government assigned 3G and BWA spectrum to them without their participation in the auctions. This spectrum was literally foisted on the PSUs. Later, when they just could not use the BWA spectrum, the government allowed them to surrender BWA spectrum and decided to refund the payment made by these PSUs.

Latest Reads
Dish TV bemoans govt's neglect of DTH sector

MUMBAI: Dish TV, while lamenting neglect and step-motherly treatment of the whole DTH sector by the government, has exhorted policy-makers to remove various discriminations in the licencing conditions of various distribution platforms as it has resulted in taxing times for DTH operators.

Regulators I&B Ministry
Right time for India-centric global news channel: Smriti Irani

MUMBAI: Information and broadcasting (I&B) minister Smriti Irani is ready to take India abroad. The minister has said it is the right time for the state-owned broadcaster to launch a news channel focused on India for the international market, although she added that no decision has been taken...

Regulators I&B Ministry
MIB admits no DTH infra sharing permission sought

NEW DELHI: Despite the initial hype and enthusiasm over infrastructure sharing by broadcast, cable and satellite-delivered service players (such as DTH operators) and lengthy suggestions on the subject by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the government has admitted no stakeholder...

Regulators I&B Ministry
Law ministry likely to give opinion on DTH guidelines review

Even as the government admitted in Parliament yesterday that it has granted six companies licenses to operate DTH services in India, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has, reportedly, referred to the Law Ministry a long-pending proposal to review DTH guidelines in the country

Regulators TRAI
MIB says fewer TV channels violating ad, prog norms

NEW DELHI: Indian channels seem to be finally toeing the line. The number of TV channels violating codes has been on a decline over the years. As many as 54 private television channels have violated the programme and advertising codes since 2014, though the number has been dipping, the Lok Sabha (...

Regulators I&B Ministry
No proposal to ban junk food ads on TV: Smriti Irani

Childhood obesity is a rising problem in India. The issue was addressed in today’s Lok Sabha session when a reply was sought from the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani on whether the government is aware of the study that correlates watching ads on TV with increasing habit of...

Regulators I&B Ministry
Broadcasters, DPOs oppose TV channel auction proposal

NEW DELHI: Most big and small broadcasting companies owning and operating TV channels in India, along with distribution platforms, have categorically opposed any move by the government to auction satellite TV channels as a complete package similar to FM radio channels.

Regulators TRAI
MIB mulls broadcast of DD News to 100 countries

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is contemplating its expansion of Doordarshan's 24-hour news broadcast to around 100 countries with a view to reaching out to the world and putting forth India’s viewpoint on domestic and international issues, according to an Economic Times report.

Regulators I&B Ministry
TRAI bats for converged regulator & renaming of NTP’18

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has not only suggested that the National Telecom Policy 2018 should be renamed as the Information and Communication Technologies Technology Policy - 2018 but also the regulator’s own restructuring so it can function as a converged regulator for the...

Regulators TRAI

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories