The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday recommended a base price of Rs. 2,720 crores per megahertz for pan-India 3G spectrum, about 22 percent lower than the previous auction which would provide some relief to mobile operators.
Government in 2010 had auctioned 3G spectrum at pan-India reserve price of Rs. 3,500 crores per megahertz. Besides, Trai has recommended
that DoT should put additional 15MHz for auction, which has to be obtained in exchange of spectrum that is with the Defence services.
The Department of Telecom, however, is optimistic of getting 5MHz of 3G spectrum (2100MHz band) from the Defence Ministry.
“The Authority recommends that the reserve price for 2100MHz spectrum in each LSA (licence service area) should be Rs. 2,720 crores,” Trai said.
“Furthermore, the 15MHz of spectrum in the 2100MHz spectrum being vacated by Ministry of Defence, in lieu of spectrum in the 1900MHz spectrum, should be auctioned in view of the in-principle agreement reached with MoD, even if it is not available immediately,” it added. This can be done as “actual assignments do not have to be made immediately”, it said.
The regulator has recommended that the DoT should take all measures to ensure that the 2100MHz spectrum which was earlier assigned to S-TEL in three service areas – Bihar, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh – is also put to auction.
STel closed its business in India after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 licences in February 2012 in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
Incidentally, the 2010 reserve price for 3G spectrum had formed the basis of CAG estimating notional loss figure of Rs. 1.76 lakh crores in 2G spectrum allocation case of 2008.