TRAI likely to propose splitting 2G spectrum from UASL

4 Jan 2010

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is expected to propose that 2G spectrum be auctioned, effectively delinking it from the country’s Unified Access Service Licences (UASLs), the Business Standard reports. At present a UASL comes bundled with 4.4MHz of 2G start-up spectrum, and operators are subsequently allocated 1.8MHz of additional spectrum upon meeting subscriber targets fixed by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT). According to the report a senior TRAI official has confirmed that the regulator is likely to issue proposals to halt the bundling of spectrum and licence, meaning that any new entrants to the Indian mobile sector will face an increased fee. Having issued a consultation paper on spectrum management, mergers and acquisitions and a review of licensing conditions in October 2009 the TRAI is expected to release its final proposals soon.

In separate but related news the Tata Group, which owns Tata Teleservices (TTSL), has backed the creation of a wireless spectrum pool, managed by an independent body. The Economic Times reports that the company has claimed that such a setup would reduce costs for operators and allow the most efficient use of the resource. The Tata Group has said that in order to ensure the independence of the so-called Mobile Network Authority (MNA) a limit on the shareholding of the coalition of mobile phone operators in the entity should be set at 49%, while capping the ownership of individual companies at 15%.