On behalf of the private telecom operators, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) welcomed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations on Valuation and reserve price of 2100 MHz spectrum. TRAI has recommended a base price of INR 2,720 crore per megahertz (MHz) for 2100 MHz spectrum for the 22 telecom circles in the country.
TRAI has also reiterated its suggestion that 2100 MHz band spectrum should be auctioned along with other bands (800, 900 and 1800MHz), in February 2015. COAI said that it appreciates TRAI’s suggestion to auction the 2100 MHz spectrum alongside the other bands, as this will help relieve the acute spectrum crunch faced by the operators. The industry is also encouraged with the TRAI recommendation regarding auction of the entire 15 MHz of spectrum which will be vacated by Defence as has been informed by the Ministry of Defence.
“We are happy that TRAI has taken into consideration the broad requirements for the development of progressive telecommunications eco-system in the country," said Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, COAI.
He further added, "It is essential that the fundamental resource of spectrum is augmented so as to support this objective, which is common to the government as well as the industry operators all, we are happy with the approach of the regulator in acknowledging the needs for an emerging mobile broadband network in the country.”
COAI also compliments the TRAI, Minister of Communications & IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Defence Manhoar Parikar, DoT Secretary and Defence Secretary for the path breaking agreement on 2100 MHz spectrum swap which will enhance the overall quantum of spectrum that was urgently required for commercial use. This will facilitate the implementation of the Hon’ble Prime Minister's vision of ‘Broadband for All’, and is a right step to make adequate spectrum available for auction.
COAI also welcomes authority’s gesture in asking the government to resolve the issue of interference in 2100 MHz spectrum allocated in certain areas. As the operators have not been able to properly roll out services in these service areas, it is depriving the customers of the benefits of 3G services and is becoming a stumbling block in meeting the government’s objectives on “Digital India” in these areas.
At the same time, we feel that a reduced period of 3 years for completion of roll-out obligations may be strenuous for the operators as roll-outs consist of various aspects including developing the requisite infrastructure, which may pose a challenge for such a short period Lastly, It may also be noted that till date, even the Test Procedure for roll out testing has not been finalized by the government, according to COAI.