The Telecom Commission, the highest decision making body in telecommunications, will meet on Saturday to firm up its views on the regulator’s recommendations on auctioning of spectrum.
The commission, chaired by telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar, has already decided that all the spectrum will be refarmed, and that the entire spectrum remaining after refarming would be auctioned. However, it has not come to a conclusion on pricing.
Currently, the old incumbent operators hold spectrum in two bands: 800 and 900 MHz. The regulator, Telecom Regulatory authority of India (TRAI), has recommended that 900 and 800 MHz bands be replaced with the 1,800 MHz band, and that the 800 and 900 MHz bands that are vacated be auctioned. (This process is termed refarming.)
This would help the government realise the true value of spectrum, which is a minimum of Rs 300,000 crore in the next four years, the regulator feels. TRAI has recommended that the reserve price of spectrum in 800 MHz and 900 MHz band should be Rs 7,200 crore per MHz — which is double the price of the 1,800 MHz band.
The telecom commission’s views will be placed before the empowered group of ministers, which will meet in the first week of June to take a final decision. The auction is to take place by August as laid down by the Supreme Court, which had on February 2 ordered cancellation of 122 telecom licences issued on first-come-first-served basis.