The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday recommended delinking spectrum allocation from licences. It has also allowed operators to use spectrum for providing any services.
Experts say this will benefit consumers as they will get new services at affordable prices.Earlier, the licences for providing 2G services were issued for a fee of Rs 1,650 crore for pan-India operations, on a first-come-first-served (FCFS) basis, bundled with spectrum. This led to the 2G scam, and the Supreme Court ordered cancellation of 122 licences for 2G services issued during former communications minister A Raja’s regime.
The bundling also meant that if an operator wanted to provide only fixedline services, he was required to pay a licence fee of R1,650 crore. Now, he will be required to pay only R15 crore for pan-India services.
Recommendations on guidelines for “Unified licence/class licence and migration of existing licences” also say that the licence fee for a pan-India unified licence should be R15 crore.
“TRAI recommendations are good for the consumers and for the industry,” said BK Syngal, former CMD of Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. “The operators will offer new services and it will also help the growth of the industry.”
Currently, the spectrum is also issued for specific technology. For example, if a company is issued spectrum for providing 2G GSM services, it cannot offer 3G or 4G services.
“This blocks the growth of the industry. If a company has paid market price for spectrum, then it should be allowed to use it for any purpose,” said Syngal.
The technology is advancing so fast that even 4G services can be offered on the band in which 2G service is offered in India.