Empowered group of ministers to meet on Tuesday to discuss TRAI spectrum recommendations

Telecom Lead India: An
empowered group of ministers (EGoM) will meet on Tuesday next week to discuss
TRAI’s recommendations on unified licences and auction of spectrum.

The Telecom Commission, the decision making body of the
Telecom Department, will also meet on Monday next week to discuss the TRAI

Telecom Commission will discuss TRAI’s recommendation, while
it will be preliminary meeting of EGoM for briefing.

The EGoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, was
looking into the issue of vacating spectrum and now its terms of reference have
been extended to include spectrum allocation and licence related issues.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Defence Minister AK
Antony, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Information and Broadcasting Minister
Ambika Soni, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Law Minister Salman Khursheed and
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia are members of EGoM.

TRAI on Monday recommended a base price of Rs 3,622 crore
for one MHz of spectrum at pan-India level which is around 10 times higher than
base or minimum price for spectrum that was allocated for 2G service in 2008 by
then telecom minister A Raja.

Recently, telecom service providers approached Sibal against
TRAI’s recommendations with five point agenda saying tariffs could go up to 30
percent if spectrum would be allocated at higher cost.

TRAI spectrum policy will affect mobile broadband growth in
India: GSMA

Recently, GSMA said that TRAI’s spectrum auction
recommendations will escalate mobile spectrum cost and affect mobile broadband
growth in Indian telecom market.

At present, broadband customer base stands at around 14
million in India. TRAI suggested that the 700 MHz spectrum should be auctioned
in 2014. This will affect the mobile broadband expansion plans of major
operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular,
among others.

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