RCom Can Now Liberalise 800 MHz Spectrum in 4 Circles
Kolkata: The Cabinet has approved liberalising 800 MHz spectrum in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, clearing the air on their provisional market price and paving the way for Reliance Communications to share or trade bandwidth in these areas.
“The meaning of this Cabinet decision is that wherever administratively (non-auctioned) allocated spectrum is available, whose liberalisation is sought and whose market-de- termined price is not available, then in that case, Trai’s recommendation on auction price shall be taken as provisional standard and after actual auction, the balance will be taken,” telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said after a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Paying the market price for airwaves that were allotted and not auctioned allows telcos to use the spectrum to offer any standard — 2G, 3G or 4G — for services. Besides, carriers will be able to bring new technologies and share and trade the airwaves with other operators. The 800 MHz spectrum is a much sought- after bandwidth for offering 4G services. Anil Ambani’s RCom can now liberalise its 800 MHz airwaves in the four circles and expand its spectrum-sharing pact with Mukesh Ambaniowned Reliance Jio Infocomm. Based on the benchmarks suggested by Trai, the cost of liberalising RCom’s airwaves in the four circles is likely to be about .₹ 1,300 crore, a person aware of the matter said.
Trai pegged the starting price of 800 MHz spectrum in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Rajasthan at .₹ 303 crore, .₹ 360 crore, .₹ 243 crore and .₹ 204 crore, respectively. The rates were part of the base prices it recommended for seven bands proposed to be offered in India’s biggest spectrum auction, likely around July.
RCom has liberalised airwaves in 18 circles. It paid .₹ 5,384 crore as liberalisation fee to the telecom department for 16 circles and acquired the bandwidth in Assam and Northeast in the March 2015 auction. RCom shares rose 3.1% to close at .₹ 50.95 on BSE on Wednesday.
RCom can now expand its spectrumsharing pact with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio