New Delhi: The department of telecom is unlikely to allow spectrum trading among licencees as it would defy the current practice of subscriber-linked allocation.
With the issue of spectrum trading back on the regulator’s radar and Trai seeking opinion on the issue from global consultancy firms, highly placed DoT sources said spectrum can be allocated only on the basis of subscriber numbers.
“If licencees are allowed to trade spectrum among themselves, what is the role of government in allocation?” the sources said.
The government at present does not allow selling or buying of spectrum by players. Trai said the consultant should provide the desirability and timing for allowing spectrum trading in India, along with modus operandi suitable for Indian conditions and implementation issues.
The issue of spectrum trading has come up again as DoT has already allowed intra-circle roaming pacts, which many industry analysts feel amounts to spectrum trading within a circle.
Under spectrum trading, the spectrum allottees will be able to sell a part of the spectrum to another service provider, while under the intra-circle roaming pacts, a service provider, who is yet to establish a complete network in a particular circle, can lease spectrum of another service provider for providing connectivity to its users within that circle.
Earlier, Trai had proposed spectrum trading in 2006. However, the DoT had rejected the proposal due to fear that it would thwart further investments in telecom infrastructure. Currently, US, Canada and Australia allow spectrum trading.
The scope of the study by global experts will encompass desirability and timing for allowing spectrum trading in India, modes of it and the methodology suitable in the Indian context.