The Telecom Commission has decided to go ahead with the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the matter of spectrum pricing and quantity for the upcoming spectrum auctions, according to sources. This move leaves no scope for cellular operators to advocate their demands for lowering the reserve prices for the spectrum, with industry sources hinting that some of the operators may also abstain from bidding for the more expensive 700 MHz band. The Telecom Commission, chaired by the Department of Telecommunication Secretary J.S. Deepak, met on 30 April to discuss spectrum pricing and plans for the Spectrum auctions.
“The Telecom Commission has agreed to the recommendations of the TRAI. Operators are still lobbying with DoT, but I’m afraid this leaves them little choice. The industry can recover the cost of the spectrum easily. The returns expected are higher than other bands as well,” an official in the Department of Telecommunication told this newspaper. The 700 MHz range is very good for providing high speed broadband services. The TRAI had recommended the reserve price for 700 MHz range of around 11500 crore per MHz in January this year. The operators had raised a collective protest against this recommendation and have since been insisting that the reserve prices be lowered. Industry sources, who claim to be disappointed with the Telecom Commission’s decision, said that they have received hints from the DoT that the auction may be held around the end of July.