Will offer views on spectrum auction: Trai

Will offer views on spectrum auction: Trai
Regulator Trai on Tuesday said it will be “happy” to give its recommendations to the government on spectrum auctions, including timing and pricing aspects, as and when the matter is referred to it.

Trai Chairman R S Sharma said that although he would not make any specific comments on the timing of auction, the telecom regulator has generally been of the view that the earlier spectrum is leveraged and utilised “the better it is”.

The comments assume significance as earlier on Tuesday the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has advocated annual spectrum auctions for India’s telecom market and has said it will shortly approach Trai for recommendations on pricing, timing and bands that should be placed on the block.

The DoT has also said that the next auction could be held between July and December this year, and will be preceded by a comprehensive policy on use of various spectrum bands including backhaul, access and 5G spectrum.

“Telecom Department is certainly within its rights to ask us to provide recommendations and we will be doing that. Our view in the past also has been to ensure auction of the entire spectrum (placed on the block) and that view was fortunately accepted by the DoT,” he said.

Sharma further said: “Broadly, our view is that spectrum is a resource that is a perishable resource... so the longer you don’t use it, you are losing in an irreversible manner. You cannot recover that lost value. Essentially, the earlier it is leveraged and utilised, the better it is.” He was speaking on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress here.

Asked if the regulator, like DoT, was also of the view that auctions should be held this year, Sharma declined to make any specific comment but indicated that not utilising spectrum is akin to losing it.
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