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Expect Spectrum Auction Recommendation Within a Quarter: Trai Chief

The Trai on Sunday recommended barring telecom operators from imposing any restriction, like reducing net speed or blocking the access of any content or service available on the Internet, except in special cases like court orders and government directions.

PTI

Updated:March 4, 2018, 1:56 PM IST
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Expect Spectrum Auction Recommendation Within a Quarter: Trai Chief
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Barcelona: The telecom regulator Trai expects to finalise recommendation for the country's largest ever spectrum auction within a quarter, a top official said.

"We have completed the consultation process (for spectrum auction) and are drafting the recommendations," Trai Chairman RS Sharma told PTI.

He was replying to queries around India's readiness for 5G and regulatory environment in the country.

When asked about the timeline for the recommendations, he said "very soon...May be within quarter".

Spectrum is the main connecting link for rollout of 5G services in India. The government will allocate spectrum to telecom operators through auction, which is largely dependent on recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

The US regulator FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has already announced a roadmap for 5G spectrum auction so that operators there become an early provider of 5G services.

"Ultimately, one should understand there has to be a business case for telecom operators. Ongoing test and trials will establish which will be appropriate application areas of 5G in our country," Sharma said.

The government is planning to hold the largest ever spectrum auction of 3,000 Mhz of radio waves in the upcoming sale.

In the previous auction in 2016, the government had put a total of 2,354.55 megahertz of mobile airwaves for sale in all bands of 700 Mhz, 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1,800 Mhz, 2,100 Mhz and 2,300 Mhz, cumulatively valued at around Rs 5.63 lakh crore at base price.

However, nearly 60 per cent of the radio waves, including premium 4G bands, remained unsold in that auction.

The government has sought recommendations from Trai on the applicable reserve Price and related issues for an auction of right to use of spectrum in the frequency bands 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz, 3,300-3,400 MHz and 3,400-3,600 MHz.

Talking about the regulatory environment, Sharma said Trai will focus only on light touch regulation and has given government recommendation to further ease norms for doing business.

"India does not believe in overregulation. Trai has believed in light touch regulation like pricing (of telecom services) is under forbearance. We have also given recommendation to government on ease of doing business and proposed a large number of reforms," Sharma said.

Established telecom operators have been up against their ante against Trai over its recent order on predatory pricing. Sharma declined to make any remark on the issue.

He said Trai's recommendation on net neutrality, which is one of the key issue troubling telecom operators, strikes a balance between all digital stakeholders.

The Trai on Sunday recommended barring telecom operators from imposing any restriction, like reducing net speed or blocking the access of any content or service available on the Internet, except in special cases like court orders and government directions.

Government officials have said Trai's net neutrality stand is very much in sync with views of the Department of Telecom and it will soon frame policy around it.
| Edited by: Puja Menon
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