TRAI reveals 3G auction plans

28 Sep 2006

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released its long awaited guidelines for the allocation and pricing of spectrum for 3G services in the 450MHz, 800MHz and 2100MHz bands. As expected, the regulator has suggested auctioning frequencies and set a sliding scale of starting prices for spectrum varying across the country’s 23 telecoms circles. The proposed base price for spectrum covering India’s two biggest circles in Delhi and Mumbai would be INR800 million (USD17.4 million), Chennai and Calcutta would start at INR400 million with spectrum in all other telecoms circles set at INR150 million. The highest bidder in each circle would choose the best spectrum band, with runners-up being required to offer a price equal to at least 75% of the winning bid. The TRAI is currently in talks with various private and state-run companies to free up frequencies for 3G services; it expects to have 32.5MHz of spectrum available for auction within six to nine months. The guidelines must be approved by the Ministry of Communications before they can be implemented.