Unsold CDMA spectrum to go back on sale; MNP banned for closing cellcos

13 Mar 2013

Indian watchdog the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is expected to include the remaining CDMA spectrum left unsold after Monday’s auction, in which Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL) was the only participant, amongst the airwaves to be put up for a third sale. The Economic Times writes that the regulator is continuing its efforts to divest frequencies in the 800MHz (CDMA) and 1800MHz (GSM) bands in the face of limited interest from operators and investors. Providers have been far more cautious with their bidding than in previous auctions, deterred by the high reserve prices set by the authorities.

As previously noted by CommsUpdate, the government’s first attempt to auction frequencies from the quashed licences proved something of a damp squib, bringing in less than a quarter of the target income of INR400 billion (USD7.365 billion), with no bids entered for four of the busiest – and most expensive – operating circles. A second round of auctions for the GSM airwaves was expected to run earlier this week but was cancelled after the regulators received no applications.

In related news, the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a direction instructing all operators not to process certain mobile number portability (MNP) requests. The direction specifies that MNP applications submitted by operators in the areas that they did not successfully repurchase concessions should be declined.