New Delhi: The department of telecommunications (DoT) has scheduled a meeting of the full telecom commission on 28 November to discuss the latest Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recommendations on second-generation (2G) spectrum and licensing in a signal that the government doesn’t want to delay telecom rules.
The regulator suggested key changes to the existing rules governing the telecom sector last week in reply to a DoT letter seeking clarifications on the watchdog’s recommendations of May 2010.
The meeting will be held on 28 November between 10am and 5pm at DoT, according to an internal DoT note.
“The full memo for the meeting is yet to be prepared and should be done by the end of next week,” a senior DoT official said, confirming the development.
Typically, an internal DoT panel would have been formed to look into the new recommendations before being presented to the telecom commission, he said, asking not to be identified. “That was considered unnecessary this time.”
The telecom commission consists of three members belonging to DoT as well as secretaries from the Planning Commission, department of economic affairs, department of information technology and department of industrial policy and promotion. It is chaired by the DoT secretary.
The recommendations, submitted to DoT on 4 May by the regulator, included proposals aimed at boosting consolidation. Post-merger or acquisition, the resultant entity can have as much as 60% market share in a particular service area or circle, twice the earlier proposal of 30%, the regulator has recommended. However, any deal involving a market share in excess of 35% will need special approval by Trai.
Trai also changed its initial recommendation to cap the quantum of spectrum in a circle at 14Mhz and, instead, suggested that a telco be allowed up to 25% of the available spectrum in a circle.
Trai also suggested that spectrum sharing be allowed for up to five years, extendable by another five.
A key suggested change that has been criticized is that operators with spectrum in the 900Mhz band be excluded from the auction of spectrum in the 700Mhz band. This may cause a loss to the exchequer, experts have said.
Once the telecom commission makes the necessary changes and approves the new rules, they will likely go to the cabinet committee on economic affairs for clearance.