TRAI may recommend telecom spectrum sharing

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is likely to allow sharing of all kind of spectrum held by telecom operators for mobile communication services.

TRAI, which is likely to announce its recommendations on spectrum sharing on Monday, will include spectrum allocated at old price of Rs 1,658 crore, PTI reported.

Telecom industry sources says TRAI may allow sharing of spectrum allocated administratively but restrict telecom services to the ones allowed to be provided through those airwaves.

Spectrum sharing is one of the key demands of industry associations such as Assocham, GSMA, COAI, etc.

Government had earlier in-principle approved sharing of only those spectrum under new licensing regime which have been purchased through spectrum auction to increase interest of bidders and enhance revenue generation.

It in-principle approved sharing of spectrum allocated without auction on condition that companies holding such airwaves will have to pay one-time spectrum charge which cumulatively amounted to about Rs 30,000 crore for both GSM and CDMA spectrum as estimated by DoT last year.

Spectrum sharing and trading are expected to encourage telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, etc. to migrate to new licensing regime and create balance between new entrants such as Videocon Telecom, Uninor, etc. and old players.


The report said the price of spectrum in last auction was about 5-times more compared to price of spectrum allocated under old licensing regime.

Telecom companies have challenged in court the government’s decision to impose one-time spectrum charge and the matter is sub-judice.

Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Aircel and Tata Teleservices will benefit from spectrum sharing because they can benefit from low cost of spectrum ownership and they can improve profitability of services.

The regulator is expected to allow operators to share same set of even 3G spectrum or same set of 4G spectrum but may not recommend sharing of inter-band spectrum like sharing between 3G and 4G.

At present, sharing of 3G spectrum is barred.

The report said TRAI may recommend the DoT to levy one-time non-refundable fee of Rs 50,000 per operator for each service area in which they opt for spectrum sharing.

The regulator may restrict sharing of spectrum to only telecom operators and count 50 per cent of spectrum being shared under spectrum cap rule.