TRAI begins consultation process for air wave spectrum auctions

A massive spectrum auction is expected in India very soon and TRAI has already started to prepare for it by starting its consultation process for selling off these air waves to the highest bidder. Licenses in possession of Indian telecom companies like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications for the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands will be expiring in 2015 – 2016, which is why a new auction is being organized.

The re-allocation will take place within the 2014 – 2015 financial year however, and the government has projected a minimum revenue of Rs 9,355 crores from it in the Budget Estimates for the current year. Apart from 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, this amount also considers potential revenue to be generated from sales of the CDMA-focused 800MHz band spectrum, with recommendations on the subject already having been submitted by TRAI.

Stock Image

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has set September 8 as the final date for comments from stakeholders on the consultation paper it has sent to them. Counter comments will be heard till September 15, while open house discussions will start on September 22. According to TRAI, 184MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz band and 104MHz in the 1800MHz band, can be put up for auction.

Also see: TRAI reduces ceiling tariff for dedicated broadband lines

In December 2015, and four telecom licenses held by Bharti Airtel will complete their term, apart from 7 each belonging to Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications. On the other hand, Vodafone will have 6 of its licenses reach their limit by then. Although they can renew their licenses by paying fixed amounts, participating in the auction is necessary if they wish to continue providing mobile and other wireless services.

According to The Economic Times, if the recommendations of TRAI are followed, the auction of the above mentioned spectrum should begin on February 3 next year.