TRAI and DoT lock horns over February auction

25 Nov 2014

Telecoms sector watchdog the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has locked horns with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) over the terms of the upcoming spectrum auction, refusing to draft fresh recommendations after its initial proposals were rejected by the DoT. The Economic Times writes that the TRAI has stood by its recommendations on pricing for spectrum in the 1800MHz and 900MHz bands, as well as its suggestion to take back airwaves from the defence ministry and state-owned operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) in order to ensure that there are sufficient frequencies for the auction. The TRAI had also recommended selling spectrum in the 2100MHz and 800MHz bands in a single auction, to reduce uncertainty for providers repurchasing expiring concessions. A statement from the TRAI explained that: ‘After considering the comments given by the DoT, the Authority has furnished its response to the government. The Authority has reiterated its earlier recommendations with detailed reasoning.’ The TRAI will, however, respond separately to specific comments made by the DoT regarding the 800MHz band, but restated its suggestion to explore the feasibility of using part of the frequency range – currently used for CDMA services – for an extended GSM (E-GSM) band.