New Delhi: Government is examining the possibility of allowing operators to share spectrum and a decision will be taken in the next two months, Minister of State for Communications Jyotiraditya Scindia said today.
Spectrum sharing is being discussed. “Hopefully in the next month or two, we would see some sort of process coming out of that,” he said at an Assocham function here.
Only yesterday, Telecom Secretary Sidhharth Behura said there is no such proposal at the moment. “I am not aware of any such development. There is no such proposal before the ministry and we are not considering any such proposal,” he had said.
Spectrum sharing basically allows a licensed operator, with spectrum but not enough subscribers, to lease out excess capacity to another operator within its circle. The government also stands to gain a slice of the fee paid for the shared spectrum.
Such a system is prevalent in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Guatemala and Spain. However, the US model has not proved very successful because spectrum is auctioned off to operators, after which they are free to resell it. However, high bid prices render reselling unfeasible. If this move makes any headway, then the short term crisis of spectrum crunch could be overcome.
On the issue of foreign players being allocated 5 MHz spectrum in the 3G spectrum services, which may not be sufficient for them to roll out full 3G services, Scindia said the Department of Telecom was looking into the matter. Foreign players have demanded additional spectrum and have told the government they would not be able to run 3G services with 5 MHz of spectrum.