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Friday, May 20, 2022

Auction or allocation of 28 GHz spectrum: Trai says up to DoT

In its reply to the DoT’s back reference, the regulator said that as was sought by the Department, the Trai has already given its recommendations on auction of spectrum in respective frequency bands including 27.5-28.5 GHz as part of 24.25-28.5 GHz band.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 10, 2022 6:13:50 am
Further, the regulator has suggested that separate band-specific minimum rollout obligations (MRO) as recommended by it should be kept for 3300-3670 MHz and 24.25-27.5 GHz bands. (File)

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has said that it is up to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to decide whether the higher frequencies of 27.5-28.5 GHz should be put up for auction or allocated to telecom service providers (TSPs).

In its reply to the DoT’s back reference, the regulator said that as was sought by the Department, the Trai has already given its recommendations on auction of spectrum in respective frequency bands including 27.5-28.5 GHz as part of 24.25-28.5 GHz band. “However, it is for the DoT to decide whether frequency range 27.5-28.5 GHz is to be allocated/ auctioned for IMT/5G,” Trai said.

On April 11, the regulator had recommended that all available spectrum in the existing bands of 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz as well as the newer frequency bands of 600 MHz, 3300-3670 MHz, and 24.25-28.5 GHz also be put up for auction.

Moreover, the Trai disagreed with the DoT that the telecom regulatory body’s views should be sought every time the government wants to conduct auction at shorter intervals. According to Trai, the spectrum valuation exercise that it undertakes uses various models and approaches that employ varied “datasets of technical, market and economic data, updated periodically”

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“These parameters do not change much in a short time span. At the same time, the Authority had noted that there is a need to evaluate the techno-economic context at regular intervals to reckon for changes. The Authority had also noted in this context that annual valuation exercises may not be necessary,” Trai said.

Further, the regulator has suggested that separate band-specific minimum rollout obligations (MRO) as recommended by it should be kept for 3300-3670 MHz and 24.25-27.5 GHz bands.

“Technical characteristics of these two bands are quite different and use cases likely to be deployed using these spectrum bands are also likely to be different. Possibility of a bidder acquiring spectrum in only one of these bands and not in both the bands, cannot be ruled out,” Trai said.

In its recommendations on April 11, Trai had suggested easing some of the MRO for deployment of 5G by the new entrants in the telecom sector. For example, in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, and 1800 MHz bands, Trai has suggested that the time period for MRO should be extended to 2 years from 1 year currently.

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