Trai begins process to auction 2G spectrum

TRAIFollowing the Supreme Court order, telecom regulator Trai has started the process of auction of 2G spectrum and issued a pre-consultation paper on the same seeking views of all stakeholders.

The apex court, in its verdict on Thursday, had asked Trai to adhere to the central government’s focus on allocation of spectrum only through auction.

“Keeping in view the decision taken by the central government in 2011, Trai shall make fresh recommendations for grant of licence and allocation of spectrum in 2G band in 22 service areas by auction, as was done for allocation of spectrum in 3G band,” Principal advisor at Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India (Trai), Sudhir Gupta, said in a statement.

The Supreme Court in its order on cancellation of 122 2G telecom licenses has asked the government to seek fresh recommendations from Trai on allocation of licences and spectrum by way of auction. The apex court has given the government a time-frame of four months to complete the process.

It is estimated that 536 Mhz of 2G spectrum will be freed following the cancellation of the 122 licenses.

Almost a year ago, Trai had recommended fixing the price for 6.2 Mhz of pan-India start-up 2G spectrum at Rs 10,972.45 crore, more than six times the cost of Rs 1,658 crore at which the spectrum was allocated to new players whose licences have been ordered to be cancelled by the Supreme Court.

The recommended spectrum price varied from circle to circle.

In case of contracted limit, the price ranges from Rs 7.60 crore per Mhz in Jammu and Kashmir to Rs 187.38 crore per Mhz in Tamil Nadu.

For the additional spectrum, the range is Rs 22.89 crore in Jammu and Kashmir to Rs 431.95 crore in Andhra Pradesh. Gupta cited that Trai has already recommended that all future licences should be unified licences under ‘Spectrum Management and Licensing Framework’ guidelines of May 2010. Also, it has said that spectrum should be delinked from licence.

“Pursuant to this recommendation, ‘Draft Guidelines for Unified Licensing Regime’ were also placed on Trai website,” Gupta said. On the issue of ‘Allocation of spectrum in 2G band in 22 Service Areas by auction’, Trai has requested stakeholders to send their comments and suggestions on the issues involved by February 15.

“Keeping in view the time bound nature of exercise, no extension of time will be given,” Gupta said.

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