India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has suspended spectrum sharing, trading and liberalisation activity until the upcoming spectrum auction has been concluded, the Economic Times reports. The news outlet cites unnamed sources as saying that the move is intended to drive up participation in the spectrum auction, which will see frequencies across the 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2500MHz bands and worth a combined INR5.6 trillion (USD84 billion) go under the hammer. ‘The Spectrum Trading Guidelines… would remain suspended during the time of conduct of auction i.e. from the date of issue of Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for auction of spectrum to the date of publishing of provisional result of the auction,’ the DoT’s amended spectrum sharing and trading guidelines notes.
The suspension is likely to throw a spanner in the works for the three-way merger between Reliance Communications (RCOM), Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) and Aircel, negotiations for which are still under way.