TRAI recommends auction of CDMA or 800 MHz spectrum

TRAINew Delhi, Feb 22 : The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Saturday recommended auction of CDMA or 800 MHz band airwaves at Rs. 2,685 crore per megahertz reserve price, an official release said here.

The recommendation said the entire available spectrum with the Department of Telecom (DoT) in the 800 MHz band should be put to auction. "The authority recommends that the reserve price for the forthcoming auction of 800 MHz spectrum should be fixed at 80 percent of the average valuation," the recommendation said.

However, the industry players in CDMA feel the base price stipulated by the TRAI is too high. "The price is too high and I feel at this price there will be very few takers," Ashok Sud, secretary general, Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI), told IANS.

During this band's last auction in March 2013, its reserve price was around Rs. 1,800 crore per MHz.

TRAI also said at least one chunk of contiguous 5 MHz spectrum (that is four carriers) should be carved out before the auction. "The carrier reassignment, if required, may be carried out amongst the existing TSPs in the 800 MHz band to make at least four contiguous carriers available."

The recommendation mentioned that spectrum in the 800 MHz band should be auctioned in a block size of 1.25 MHz. It also mentioned that a new telecom service provider, which does not have any spectrum holding in the 800 MHz band must bid for a minimum of four carriers.

However, an existing player having some spectrum holding in the 800 MHz band should be permitted to bid for a minimum one block of spectrum.

TRAI also recommended that the DoT should take back from the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) its entire spectrum holding in the 800 MHz band, while it suggested that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) should be allowed to retain only one CDMA carrier in all the local service areas (LSA) except in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and North-East LSAs, where it can retain both the carriers.

It suggested that the DoT should take back other carriers assigned to the BSNL in the 800 MHz band.(IANS)