TRAI's one month deadline for resolving 30 questions on spectrum auctions

New Delhi, 27 November:  The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India wants to know whether the entire spectrum available with Department of Telecom in the 800 MHz band should be put for auction and how can the spectrum in the 800 MHz band, which is not proposed to be auctioned due to non-availability of inter-operator guard band, be utilized.

In a consultation paper on “Valuation and Reserve Price of Spectrum in 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 and 2500MHz Bands”, it wants to know what should be the block size in the 700 MHz band.

TRAI has sought comments to almost thirty questions in the paper by 21 December and counter-comments by 28 December and said no extra time would be given in view of the urgency of the issue.

It also seeks to know if there is any requirement to change the provisions of the latest NIA with respect to block size and minimum quantum of spectrum that a new entrant/existing licenses/expiry licensee is required to bid for in 800, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands.

What should the block size in the 2300 MHz and 2500 bands be, the Regulator wants to know.

Considering the fact that one more sub-1 GHz band (i.e. 700 MHz band) is being put to auction, is there a need to modify the provisions of spectrum cap within a band and is there any need to specify a separate spectrum cap exclusively for the spectrum in 700 MHz band?, TRAI has asked.

Should a cap on the spectrum holding within all bands in sub-1 GHz frequencies be specified and should the existing provision of band specific cap (50 percent of total spectrum assigned in a band) be done away with, it has asked.

TRAI wants to know whether the 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands be treated as same band for the purpose of imposing intra-band Spectrum Cap.

In the auction held in March 2015, specific roll-out obligations were mandated for the successful bidders in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz spectrum bands.

Stakeholders are requested to suggest how the roll-out obligations be modified to enhance mobile coverage in the villages and whether there should be any roll out obligation for the existing service providers who are already operating their services in these bands.  

In the auction held in 2010, specific roll-out obligations were mandated for the successful bidders in 2300 MHz spectrum band. Same were made applicable to the licensee having spectrum in 2500 MHz band. Stakeholders are requested to suggest whether the same roll-out obligations which were specified during the 2010 auctions for BWA spectrum be retained for the upcoming auctions in the 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands and should both these bands be treated as same band for the purpose of roll-out obligations.

TRAI has also asked if the ISP category ‘A’ licensee should be permitted to acquire the spectrum in 2300 and 2500 MHz bands or the same eligibility criteria that has been made applicable for other bands viz. 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz band should be made applicable for 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands as well.

Stakeholders are requested to comment on whether the guidelines for liberalisation of administratively allotted spectrum in 900 MHz band should be similar to what has been spelt out by the DoT for 800 and 1800 MHz band.

Can the prices revealed in the March 2015 auction for 800/900/1800/2100 MHz spectrum be taken as the value of spectrum in the respective band for the forthcoming auction in the individual LSA, it wants to know.

Should the value of the 2300 MHz spectrum be derived on the basis of the value of any other spectrum band using the technical efficiency factor and should the valuation of the 2500 MHz spectrum be equal to the valuation arrived at for the 2300 MHz spectrum, the Regulator has asked.

What should be the ratio adopted between the reserve price for the auction and the valuation of the spectrum in different spectrum bands and why.  Should the realized prices in the recent March 2015 auction for 800/900/1800/2100 MHz spectrum bands be taken as the reserve price in respective spectrum bands for the forthcoming auction.

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