Indian Regulator May Remove 50% Limit on Spectrum Holdings in a Band, to Benefit Voda-Idea Combine: Report

Indian’s telecom regulator is reportedly mulling over removing the 50% limit on spectrum holdings within a particular band, a move that would allow more bidders for a band at the next auction, effectively helping the government boost revenue. However, the biggest beneficiary of this move, if takes place, would be Vodafone and Idea that would be able to retain all their spectrum once their merger is complete.

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The move would also allow the Mukesh Ambani-led telco, Reliance Jio, to acquire more airwaves in 850 MHz band of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications, according to a report by the Economic Times. Trai officials reckon that the move could lead to more spectrum at the disposal of a telco that could use it for multiple purposes.

“The authority may also consider raising by a limited amount the overall limit of spectrum owned in a circle beyond 25% but enough to keep a check on monopolisation,” the report said.

“The 50% cap will be removed most likely…spectrum is now liberalised and any band can be used for offering any service, so removing the cap will give a lot of flexibility to players, and lead to better utilisation of spectrum,” a source was quoted as saying by the publication.

The telecom regulator had earlier sought service providers’ views on spectrum caps through a closed consultation process. As per rules, spectrum cap is the limit of the spectrum telcos can hold for providing services. The cap is 25% of the overall airwaves assigned in a telecom circle to a telco, and 50% in a particular spectrum band.

The Telecom Commission, the highest decision-making body of the department, said last month that spectrum limits should be looked at by the regulator after it received recommendations from the inter-ministerial group that was looking into the financial health of the debt-laden sector.

The report said that the Trai may give its recommendations to the telecom department (DoT) by the month end. The DoT’s decision will go to cabinet for final approval.

In a note to the regulator, the Sunil Mittal-led telco earlier opposed any removal or relaxation of the upper limit on spectrum holding in a band from the present 50%, while the Mukesh Ambani-led Jio said the 50% in-band cap should be done away with, as technology has become spectrum-agnostic.

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17 Comments on "Indian Regulator May Remove 50% Limit on Spectrum Holdings in a Band, to Benefit Voda-Idea Combine: Report"

 

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Kirti Khurana
November 8, 2017 5:52 pm 5:52 PM

Now Jio could have 10 MHz in Band 5 pan India

Girish Gowda
November 8, 2017 2:09 pm 2:09 PM

Screw Airtel and their dirty tactics. Trai should increase the limits by atleast 25% so that capacity can be built to handle the load and those who want to invest and build infrastructure can do so easily.

Atheist 4G
November 9, 2017 8:21 am 8:21 AM

Yes, but that will also encourage monopoly

Girish
November 9, 2017 11:24 am 11:24 AM

There was an effective monopoly even when India had like 10 operators because of the cartel formed by the top 3 – Airtel, Idea and Vodafone which controlled 80% of the market.

Harmanveer Kaur
November 8, 2017 1:53 pm 1:53 PM

In Punjab, Airtel is rapidly converting the 1800 Mhz 2G towers to 4G LTE ones, while 900 Mhz, which was previously being used for 3G only, is now divided between 2G and 3G.
By far, the coverage and speeds on 1800 Mhz LTE are amazing, even much more than the 2300 Mhz LTE used by Jio.
It’s a win-win situation for all the consumers in Punjab as of now 2 big operators, viz. Jio and Airtel have got the state fully covered with 4G.

Kaushik
November 8, 2017 6:56 pm 6:56 PM

This is good to hear. Airtel is definitely ahead of VOID in 4G capacity as well as speed.

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