The Telecom Commission on Tuesday accepted the suggestions by the TRAI to ease the current spectrum holding limits, which will help stressed companies exit the sector.
In November last year, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had proposed the removal of ceiling on spectrum held by mobile operators within a particular band while suggesting a 50 percent cap on the combined radio wave holding inefficient bands like 700 MHz, 800 MHz, and 900 MHz.
The TRAI has also suggested that the overall cap on holding spectrum should be raised from the current 25 percent to 35 percent.
TRAI earlier said that a number of stakeholders were in favor of altogether removal of intraband spectrum cap. On the other side, some stakeholders advocated that existing intra-band spectrum cap should be retained.
One telecom service provider submitted that while a number of consolidations are on-going in the telecom industry, it is essential to ensure that level playing field is not upset to address entity specific challenges with spectrum caps. Rather, an organic increase by means of orderly release of additional spectrum leads to increase in thresholds of spectrum caps, the telecom regulator further said.
Under the current provisions any merged entity from holding more than 25 percent of the spectrum allocated to a service area or circle, and over 50 percent of a band.
The Interministerial group reviewed the spectrum cap applicable for Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).
In fact IMG, in its report, stated that the issue of spectrum cap merits detailed examination and variety inputs from sectoral regulators. In light of the IMG report, DoT, through its letter dated 29th September 2017, requested TRAI to provide its views on spectrum cap.
Telecom Commission has also extended the payments tenure for auctioned airwaves from 12 years to 16 years.