No new auction this fiscal year says TRAI

28 Nov 2012

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has shut down proposals to conduct an auction of the remaining 2G frequencies within this fiscal year, reports the Financial Express. Following the poor result of the first sale, which generated less than a quarter of the target revenues for the government and saw no interest from bidders in frequencies in four of the busiest service areas, plans have been put forward suggesting that the remaining spectrum blocks be put up for sale once more, but with lower reserve prices. However, the TRAI has said that under current legislation it cannot revise its recommendations on spectrum pricing: the law ensures that the government can call for the TRAI to reconsider a decision only once. During the planning for the recent spectrum auction, the government used up its single veto in rejecting the TRAI’s first decision on reserve prices for frequencies on the basis that the cost was too high.

The only way to circumvent this restriction, the TRAI said, was to begin the process anew and examine the matter without reference to existing recommendations. This is by no means a quick fix, however, involving several rounds of consultations with a timeline stretching to a minimum of four months.