The telecom industry regulator came out with much-awaited recommendations on mobile TV services on Wednesday which separated streaming of content from beaming of broadcasts. Telecom service providers will need no separate licences for treaming broadcasts – but in the absence of 3G spectrum, that is a tall order, say industry experts.
The only option, from all indications, is for broadcasters to partner with Doordarshan to share infrastructure to beam signals.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India submitted its recommendations to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. The regulator said mobile TV licences be made mandatory for any telecom licencee and recommended foreign direct investment (FDI) of up to 74 per cent in mobile TV operations.
“The value of TRAI’s recommendations would be enhanced if the process of allocating 3G spectrum is expedited,” Mahesh Uppal, an independent telecom analyst, told Hindustan Times.
On licence fees, the recommendations suggest there should be a closed tender system on the basis of one-time entry fees, which should be 50 per cent of the highest financial bid submitted for that particular licence area.
The regulator has called for automatic allocation of spectrum to mobile TV licences for successful bidders, while ruling out any kind of selection process. It also fixed the tenure of the licence at 10 years. The licence fee should be charged at four per cent of the gross revenue for each year or at 10 per cent of the one time entry fee limit for the concerned licence area, whichever is higher.
As per the recommendations, even private mobile TV operators may be assigned at least one slot of eight MHz each for mobile television operation in UHF Band V from 585 MHz to 806 MHz.
TRAI has also directed a mobile TV licencee to not to allow any broadcasting company or group of broadcasting companies to hold or own more than 20 per cent of the total paid-up equity in its company during the licence period.