Spectrum trading, sharing guidelines by year-end: Govt

Govt notched up Rs 40,847 cr in 2013-14

Spectrum trading, sharing guidelines by year-end: Govt

Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said the guidelines for telecom spectrum sharing and trading will be in place by the end of the year.

"TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) recommendations have come in spectrum trading and sharing. Our department people are working on it and I have directed them to ensure that proper guidelines are in place by the end of the year both on the issue of spectrum trading and sharing," he said at a press meet on 100 days' performance of IT and telecom of the present Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.

"I have directed people in my department that this must be fair with consumer interest and growth in mind," he said.

In July, TRAI had recommended that all access spectrum in the bands of 800/900/1,800/2,100/2,300/2,500 MHz would be sharable if both licensees have spectrum in the same band. On spectrum auction, he said it was important to work-out the mechanism.

"I have directed my department that by the year-end or at best by the fiscal end we must ensure that the entire mechanism of auction has come next phase of auction of spectrum."

The revenue target set by the government in the 2014-15 budget from spectrum auctions was to the tune of Rs.45,471 crore. In 2013-14, total receipts from auction were Rs.40,847.06 crore.

In February 2014, in a 10-day auction of 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz, the government mopped up Rs.61,162 crore.

As far as harmonisation of spectrum is concerned, the minister said talks were on with the defence ministry.

"Defence needs spectrum, we respect that but whatever can be made available should be made available. We are in dialogue with them." He admitted there were "legacy problems" in his departments, but declined to specify. "But after I took over the ministry, in the last 100 days we have tried that the way IT is revolutionising the country, telecom also follows the same pattern, so that there is confidence, transparency in the sector."

Talking about the proposed merger of state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Limited (MTNL), the minister said: "It is our priority to revive BSNL. BSNL did not get the type of support it should have got. For fair competition in the country in the telecom sector presence of one public sector telecom company is important."

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