India’s cellcos will be given permission to share spectrum under plans sketched out in the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012, Mint reports, citing a draft order from the Department of Telecommunication (DoT). Strict regulations and high costs are expected to deter operators from the practice when the new measures come into force, however. In order to share spectrum, operators will need to receive regulatory approval – which will be valid for five years – as well as pay fees for the shared spectrum, including the one-off fee for holding excess spectrum.
Ashok Sud, secretary general of industry lobby group Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) commented: ‘The operators will have to go back to the drawing board and decide whether there is a business case for sharing spectrum after paying the one-time fee and the combined spectrum usage charge. The devil is in the details, and unless you know what the DoT expects in the commercial agreements between the operators, it’s difficult to say anything. It’s a very good move as the operators will be allowed to trunk spectrum, which significantly increases the efficiency.’