Telecom Commission fixes base price for auction of 800 MHz spectrum

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telecom-tower-indiaThe Telecom Commission (TC) has fixed Rs 3,646 crore per MHz as the base price for the auction of 800 MHz spectrum, which is slated for February next year.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) had suggested a base price of Rs 3,646 crore per MHz, which is 17 per cent higher than what the regulator TRAI had recommended. The price of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz as recommended by the DoT committee could not be ascertained. The Telecom Commission’s (TC) decision will now be placed before telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for final approval and after that cabinet might be approached for certain issues, media reports said quoting sources.

“The TC has given approval to DoT’s committee recommended reserve price with some conditions,"a report said. The TC on Monday discussed the revised recommendations submitted by sectoral regulator TRAI on the pricing of 800, 900 and 1800 MHz bands. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has reiterated its recommendations for 900 and 1800 Mhz bands, while it had increased the base price by 15 per cent for 800 MHz band.

The next round of spectrum auction would be held in February and the government is estimated to garner at least Rs 9,355 crore from sale of spectrum. Most of the spectrum which is proposed to be put up for sale is being used by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications across various parts of the country. These companies have to buy back spectrum to continue their operations as their licences are about expire in 2015-16 for certain areas.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also released a consultation paper on pricing of 2100 MHz band, used for offering 3G services, as the government plans to auction this band along with 800, 900 and 1800 MHz in February.

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