Trai’s proposals on spectrum sharing may bring relief to telcos
In its recommendations on spectrum sharing, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) may propose allowing operators share all kinds of airwaves, but at the same time it is likely to oppose industry’s demand for allowing more than two operators to share airwaves. The telecom regulator may also oppose the Department of Telecom’s proposal to impose a cap on the amount of airwaves telcos are allowed to share in a circle, which may bring some relief to operators such as Vodafone India and Bharti Airtel. Trai is currently considering the suggestions of a 15-member committee that includes operators, which has recommended the removal of 25% cap on spectrum sharing. Trai may also likely take up raising the limit without doing away with it altogether, media reports said. It would send its proposals next week to DoT, which will then issue final guidelines. Trai is also not in favor of any restrictions on the tenure for operators to share airwaves, according to a draft report prepared by Trai. If allowed, spectrum sharing will bring relief for telcos as it leads to optimum use of the natural resource at an affordable price. And as a result, consumers can enjoy better quality of voice services and faster data speeds, and could translate into lower tariffs as operators’ capex could fall. But at the same time, allowing bandwidth sharing could reduce aggressive bidding in spectrum auctions, affecting government revenues.