Consumers can now expect more value-added telecom services at lower tariff plans.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended sharing of spectrum held by operators as well as those they did not bid for. Spectrum is a range of frequencies which mobile devices use to send and receive data including voice.
Operators are currently allowed to share mobile towers and optical fibre cable but not active infrastructure such as spectrum. To attract bidders and enhance revenue generation, the government had in February 2012 given in-principle approval to sharing of only those spectrum that have been purchased through auction.
“It is a good move, but some grey areas remain. Consumer will get better service and the government will get substantial revenue,” said Rajan Mathews, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India, a body of GSM operators.
For operators, the move will help them cut down on spectrum ownership cost. Industry observers said it will offer a lifeline for companies that have been struggling for want of adequate spectrum. “Guidelines from Trai are a positive step as it will promote efficient usage of the spectrum,” said Jaideep Ghosh, partner, KPMG India.
“The suggestions are good, but recommendations by Trai are not final, the government has to examine aspects such as social benefit and development of the sector,” a senior communications ministry official said.