Telecom Commission will meet on November 7th to discuss the upcoming spectrum auction. The commission will also discuss on National Optical Fibre Network project and indoor wireless telephony.
Government is planning to auction a total of 104 units of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band and 184 units in the 900 MHz band, next February. Most of this spectrum is held by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications and is set to expire between 2015-16. In order to continue services, operators will have to win back the spectrum in the upcoming spectrum auction.
DoT has proposed to auction about 57MHz of 800MHz spectrum used for CDMA, but TRAI has suggested taking back spectrum of BSNL and MTNL to make 169MHz available for the auction.
TRAI has suggested 10 percent higher base price for spectrum in the 1800MHz band at Rs. 2138 crore for 18 of the 22 service areas and a price of Rs. 3,004 crore per MHz for the efficient 900Mhz band. For the CDMA spectrum, reserve price is Rs. 2,685 crore per megahertz, which is around 50 percent higher than the pan-India base price fixed for its last auction held in March 2013.
Operators are now free to deploy any technology on the spectrum they win through auction and may see 4G technology deployed into all spectrum bands. However, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and RCom have written letter to the telecom minister requesting to postpone the auction until more spectrum is available.
TRAI had recently recommended to free 20MHz of spectrum for wireless telephony in limited outdoor spaces, mainly for business organizations. But the Ministry of Defence opposed this move to as they are not ready to vacate the spectrum in this band. Telecom Commission will also discuss on the status of National Optical Fibre Network broadband project which will miss the rollout target set by the government.