Telecom Commission to meet today to finalize spectrum auction in July

Cellular towers in China
Telecom Commission is likely to meet on Monday to finalize plans for spectrum auction in July, 2016.

The India government may mobilize Rs 5.36 lakh crore from spectrum auction, which is expected in the middle of July 2016.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to auction spectrum in the 700 Mhz band as well, PTI reported.

The sale of the 700 Mhz band, which is suitable for 4G services, is despite demand for postponement of the auction of the 700 Mhz band by leading telecoms such as Bharti Airtel.

Telecom Commission is meeting in Delhi on March 28. DoT is expecting Indian Cabinet approval on spectrum price by the middle of May and may issue a notice for auction in June. Taking into account various processes, spectrum auction should begin around July 15.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested a plan for spectrum sale with a potential to generate Rs 5.36 lakh crore. The forthcoming spectrum auction will be more than double the gross revenue of telecom services industry. Telecom service providers reported gross revenue of Rs 2.54 lakh crore in 2014-15.

TRAI recommended base price of Rs 11,485 crore per Mhz for the 700 Mhz band – promising Rs 4 lakh crore for the India government.

Telecom Commission is seeking some clarifications from TRAI on certain suggestions. According to TRAI, the cost of delivering mobile services in 700 Mhz band is approximately 70 percent lower than 2,100 Mhz frequency, a band for 3G services.

The committee has found that in some telecom circles, including UP East, UP West and Bihar, TRAI has recommended around 40 per cent lower price for 700 Mhz band than 900 Mhz band.

The report said spectrum harmonization with defense is expected to be completed before the auctions start.

DoT will get 200 Mhz spectrum on pan-India level out of this harmonization. In some circles, there is no spectrum left in the 1,750-2000 Mhz band which is being harmonized.

Meanwhile, industry association Assocham recently said sale of smartphones in India is likely to touch 160 million units in fiscal 2016-17.

On Monday, Telecom Commission will discuss transformative guidelines for the industry, including virtual network operators (MVNOs).