Telecom Commission may meet today to reconsider refarming recommendation

Telecom Lead India: The Telecom Commission is likely to meet on Thursday to reconsider its recent recommendation on refarming.

Earlier, Telecom Commission recommended that incumbents such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and BSNL need to give up all spectrum in the 900 MHz band at the time of their licence renewal.

TRAI submitted its report on spectrum refarming issue on Monday. Telecom Commission’s Wednesday meeting is likely to decide on setting up a committee to examine TRAI’s clarifications on the controversial refarming issue, Economic Times reported.

Last week, the department of telecommunications (DoT) had asked TRAI to do an analysis on refarming, including the logistics involved in implementing this proposal as well as the views of mobile phone companies on this issue.

It had also asked India’s telecom regulator to suggest various different models that were possible for refarming. The DoT also wanted TRAI to clarify if its earlier recommendations that telecom operators be allowed to retain up to 6.2 MHz of airwaves in the 1800 MHz band by paying the market rates at the time of licence renewal continued to be relevant under the new telecom policy regime where permits are no longer bundled with airwaves.

READ: Analysys Mason report on spectrum refarming in Indian telecom market

On October 18, the Empowered Group of Ministers on spectrum headed by P Chidambaram deferred approving the telecom commission’s earlier decision to refarm all airwaves held by incumbents. These recommendations can result in incumbent mobile phone companies having to pay about Rs 1.5 lakh crore to buy back spectrum they hold in the 900 MHz band, or shell out about Rs 1 lakh crore to migrate their customers on this band to the 1800 MHz frequency.

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