India’s telecoms regulator the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has published Amendment No.2 relating to the auction of spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands, which due to be held in February 2014. Under the new regulation, the auctioned frequency blocks will be technology neutral, with successful bidders required to provide details on the platform that they propose to deploy within one month of the spectrum allocation – if the technology used falls outside of the GSM/W-CDMA/LTE status quo.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in December 2013 the Indian government approved auction prices for spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave the final approval for the frequency sale, following green lights from the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) and the Telecom Commission. The CCEA accepted the pricing plan suggested by the Commission, which set the base price per-MHz for pan-India spectrum at INR17.63 billion (USD289.36 million) for 1800MHz frequencies, whilst prices for 900MHz airwaves in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata were set at INR3.59 billion, INR3.27 billion and INR1.25 billion respectively. The Commission’s recommendations struck a balance between proposals from the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the DoT, the first of which was deemed to have lowered prices too far whilst the latter had kept costs too high.