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Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Trai recommends auction of CDMA spectrum

Regulator recommends auction of CDMA spectrum at reserve price of `2,685 crore per megahertz

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Saturday recommended auction of CDMA spectrum at reserve price of 2,685 crore per megahertz, which is around 50% higher than the previous pan-India base price.

The recommendations come after multiple rounds of discussions between the government and the regulator, which had earlier suggested that no auction be held for the 800MHz band, used by CDMA operators and 4G services, for want of takers.

“Authority recommends that the reserve price for the forthcoming auction of 800MHz spectrum should be fixed at 80% of the average valuation," Trai said in its recommendation.

It has recommended a reserve price of 2,685 crore per MHz, compared with around 1,800 crore that was fixed for the auction in March 2013.

The last reserve price of CDMA spectrum was about 33% lower that GSM spectrum in 1,800MHz band at that time.

Trai has also imposed a condition that the government carve out a contiguous block of 5MHz frequencies before conducting the auction.

At present contiguous blocks are available only in 5 out of 22 service areas nationwide. They are Mumbai, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and North-East.

According to CDMA telecom operators, harmonization of frequencies may take months or even years, delaying the auction of 800MHz band. Arranging one block of contiguous spectrum will require reassignment of frequencies already by held by existing users.

Trai has recommended that the entire CDMA spectrum held by MTNL be put up for auction as it is underutilized.

The regulator has also suggested that government should take back of CDMA spectrum held by BSNL for auction except one block of frequency in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and North-East service area. PTI

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