The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday released recommendations on spectrum valuation asking the government to auction spectrum in the 900 and 1800 megahertz band.
Spectrum is airwaves that telecom operators use to transport voice and data, for consumers to communicate with each other.
The telecom regulator recommended that finance, defence and communications and IT should ensure availability of additional spectrum for commercial use.
“Unused spectrum in the defence band should not be kept idle,” said Rahul Khullar, chairman TRAI, releasing the recommendations online.
The suggestions also include auction of all spectrum available for commercial use in 2100 MHz band. This is a critical airwave for offering 4G services to consumers.
The regulator said that the auction should be carried out only after a clear road map is available — the availability of spectrum in 2100 and 900 MHZ.
It specifically pointed that "it should be held only after 2100 is cleared for commercial use from defence and 900 MHz from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd".
Spectrum is a scarce resource and is released by the government for commercial use by operators.
The government hopes to raise more than Rs. 90,000 crore according to analysts. The last spectrum auction held in February this year generated more than Rs. 61,000 crore.
"Quite pleased with recommendations, we support this. The reserve price with regard to 1800 MHz has some aberration; this would lead to higher cost for consumers. There is also a need for correlation between the 900 and 1800 MHZ, in the reserve price for operators to price the service affordable, we are still waiting for a detailed analysis,” said Rajan Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the apex body representing majority telecom operators.
When asked to comment a top official in the department of telecommunications said they are yet to receive TRAI's suggestions.
"We have not yet officially received the recommendations. The response will be given after we receive it."