New panel to decide spectrum fate
The row over spectrum allocation is far from over as an official panel has failed to reach a decision due to differences among members, reports Archana Khatri.india Updated: Dec 19, 2007 21:44 IST
The panel set up to review spectrum allocation for telecom companies failed to agree on subscriber-linked allocation, but suggested a two-stage formula in which auctions would kick in after a start-up allocation at fixed prices.
A new panel has been formed on the method for incremental allocation of spectrum after the start-up quota is exhausted, which may or not may not involve auctions.
The technical committee will be headed by K Sridhar, Member (Technology) at the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
“There are other methods possible for allocating incremental quantities of spectrum. One such method is first to grant a minimum allotment to an operator along with the licence, and then auction the remaining spectrum, with a cap on total spectrum an operator can have,” said the report, suggesting combination of subscriber-linked criteria and auction.
The formula will cover both incumbents looking for expansion of scale or area and new applicants.
The report has also left it to the government to decide whether the subscriber-linked criteria suggested by the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) should be adopted or the more lenient one recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
If the government accepts the TRAI norms, the incumbent GSM operators will be eligible to get additional spectrum after a period of six months to three years, depending on the subscriber numbers in the circles of operation. Incremental Spectrum allocated is in range of 1.8 to 2.2 MHz (MmegaHertz) for GSM operators, while the minimum possible quantum incremental spectrum is 1.25 MHz for CDMA operators.
“The incremental quantum of spectrum allotted for GSM can be reduced to 1 MHz”, says the report.
The committee, which included a member each from IIT, Kanpur and IIT, Chennai and DoT and industry representatives, submitted its report to the DoT on Tuesday.