TRAI prepares for finalizing reserve price of 4G, 3G, 2G spectrum

TRAI Chairman RS Sharma
TRAI — in a bid to support the India government to meet budget deficit, has kicked off the process for discussing reserve prices for the 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 and 2500 MHz spectrum bands.

Spectrum auction is expected before March 2016. The forthcoming spectrum auction is likely to include the LTE band 700 MHz. This will be the first time that the government will be putting 700 MHz spectrum for auction. 700 MHz will offer superior LTE experience to Indian customers.

At present, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone and Reliance Jio Infocomm are looking for supremacy in the 4G market. Some of the telecom reports suggest that Reliance Jio will be the leader in the Indian 4G market. Reliance Jio has committed $15 billion investment for its 4G roll outs across the country.

The Indian telecom regulator said it is starting the process to avoid further delay in finalizing the reserve price. The availability of information regarding the spectrum, quantum of spectrum and price of spectrum will assist telecom network operators to plan their investments effectively.

GSMA, an international telecom association, today said availability of cost effective spectrum will assist Indian telecoms to focus on network investments. GSMA also said Indian will have 500 million unique mobile subscribers by the end of the current year.

The India government is relying on spectrum auction before March 31, 2016 to meet its budget related obligations. The consultation paper will also clear the quantum of funds available for the government through the spectrum auction.

The consultation paper floated by TRAI, which is headed by chairman RS Sharma, has touched on key issues like quantum of spectrum to be auctioned, spectrum cap, spectrum block size, roll-out obligations, and methods to be used for valuation and estimation of reserve price.

The sector regulator has floated a consultation paper seeking comments and counter comments by December 21 and 28 respectively.

TRAI bets on APT700 band for LTE

TRAI says APT700 band plan should be adopted for the 700 MHz spectrum band (698-806 MHz) with FDD based 2×45 MHz frequency arrangement. On 16 November 2015, TRAI informed DoT that it is proceeding with the consultation on the presumption that the assignment through proposed auction in 700 MHz band will be as per APT700 band plan.

TRAI says the adoption of the APT700 MHz band plan (FDD option) by 40+ countries across the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions represents an opportunity for wide scale spectrum harmonization for LTE deployments, paving the way for economies of scale for devices and for roaming.

TRAI on 20 February 2013 recommended that APT700 band plan should be adopted for the 700 MHz spectrum band (698-806 MHz) with FDD based 2×45 MHz frequency arrangement.

What’s available?

700 MHz

As per the APT700 band plan (698-806 MHz), 2×45 MHz spectrum (FDD) can be utilized. DoT says 35 MHz (paired) spectrum is available for commercial purpose in each of the 22 LSAs in this band. DoT has not provided the carrier details.

800 MHz

DoT said the unsold spectrum together with the spectrum becoming available due to expiry of licenses during May 2016 to March 2018 will be 76.25 MHz. Either due to non-availability of inter-operator guard band or Government’s own requirement, the Govt. will not be auctioning the entire 76.25 MHz. It is ready to sell only 37.5 MHz.

In addition, there is also 13.75 MHz spectrum surrendered by TTSL and 10 MHz additional spectrum that can be taken back from BSNL.

900 MHz

Spectrum available in 900 MHz band will be 9.8 MHz.

1800 MHz

The available 1800 MHz spectrum is 21 MHz. It is meager and fragmented. Some of this spectrum is available in only some part of the LSA.

2100 MHz

Spectrum available in 2100 MHz band will be 345 MHz.

2300 MHz

Additional spectrum likely to become available in 2300 MHz band will be 320 MHz.

2500 MHz

Spectrum available in 2500 MHz band will be 600 MHz.

Baburajan K
[email protected]