Trai to issue spectrum sharing recommendations in about a week

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Telecom regulator TRAI is likely to issue recommendations on spectrum sharing by early next week, according to a government official.

"There are high chances that TRAI will issue recommendations on spectrum sharing late this week or early next week," the government official told PTI.

TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar today held a meeting with Chief Executive Officers of telecom companies where, as per industry sources, spectrum sharing was also discussed.

The Economic Survey has suggested that there is a need for better policies, like allowing trading and sharing of spectrum, to bring down the cost of radiowaves used for providing mobile communication.

Government has in-principle allowed sharing of spectrum purchased at market rate through auction, barring 3G airwaves, to increase efficient utilisation of the scarce natural resources. However, detailed guidelines are yet to be notified.

An internal panel at the Department of Telecommunications has suggested allowing sharing of 3G spectrum as well.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) suo-motu started a process to come out with recommendations on guidelines for spectrum sharing.

The DoT will place the recommendations of TRAI before inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission to take a call on spectrum sharing guidelines.

The cost of spectrum has increased multi-fold. In February 2014 auction, the minimum price or base price of spectrum fixed by government was about 5 times more than the price in 2001.

Also, the base price of airwaves in 1800 megahertz band, widely known as 2G spectrum, was fixed at Rs 1,765 crore per megahertz. The final price of Rs 37,572.60 crore received during auction for this band by government was over 100 per cent more than total value of spectrum put for auction at base price.

Allowing spectrum sharing will help telecom firms save costs and in turn may benefit customers if the savings are passed through in form of lower call rates.

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