DoT starts examining Trai’s 2G proposals

DoT starts examining Trai’s 2G proposals

New Delhi: Even though Trai’s recommendations on pricing of 2G spectrum and refarming will be available only after July, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked it key divisions to look into the regulator’s other proposals on the mobile radiowaves.

“It is desired that concerned wings in the licensing group -- Licensing Finance, Wireless Planning Finance and Wireless Planning Coordination -- may examine other recommendations to begin with which can be submitted for further decision on course of action to be adopted," DoT said in a note.

The note said work has to start on the regulator’s host of proposals on 2G spectrum pricing even as Trai’s further recommendations on the 2G spectrum pricing (linking 3G spectrum price to 2G) and refarming of spectrum in 800/900 Mhz band may take some time to be in place.

A senior DoT official said the government does not want sit over the report and wants to do the preliminary work while waiting for recommendations of the authority on both these issues.

Earlier, the DoT had formed a committee to examine the recommendations of Trai. MP Tangirala, DDG (Licensing Finance) is a member of the committee. DoT officials Shahnawaz Alam, Sanay Kumar, Sanjeevan Sinha are part of the five-member committee, the official said.

On 11 May, the Trai submitted recommendations on 2G spectrum where it suggested all spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz has to be paid for and linked the 2G spectrum prices with 3G auction price. It means existing players with more than 6.2 Mhz of 2G spectrum would have to pay equivalent to what the operators paid for 3G spectrum.

But to draw a detailed process on this aspect, Trai chairman JS Sarma had said, “While recommending that 3G prices be adopted as the current price of (2G) spectrum, the authority is separately initiating an exercise to further study this subject and that the government would be apprised of its findings."

On the issues involved in the re-farming of 800/900 Mhz spectrum, he had said Trai would carry out a separate consultation process and give its recommendations to DoT.

Other proposals of the regulator were gradual decline in licence fee to six per cent from the 6-10% now with uniform license fee.

One of the important recommendations of Trai was nod to mergers and acquisitions with the caveat that subscriber market share and revenue market share of the merged entity cannot exceed 30% to prevent large players from combining. It also recommended spectrum cap of 10 Mhz in case of GSM companies.