DoT to allow spectrum sharing on one time fee basis

The Department of Telecommunication has reportedly decided to propose a notice to operators on allowing the sharing of 3G spectrum after they pay the one time airwave fee for excess spectrum they hold beyond 4.4MHz. This spectrum beyond the 4.4MHz will be then treated as liberalized spectrum which will allow the operators to use these radiowaves to offer any service.

While, on one hand, this will also help the companies to reduce their operating expenses considering that they would be sharing each other’s infrastructure instead of investing in putting up new infrastructure for the same services, the other aspect is that the operators will anyway be investing, if not in the infrastructure then in the extra spectrum fee. Reportedly, this sharing of spectrum is expected to be first introduced for five years and would then be extendable by another five years.

According to the draft proposal by the telecom department, operators sharing the spectrum will also be required to pay the spectrum usage fee from their annual revenues generated from that shared spectrum area.

Last week the government had barred Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular to add new 3G subscribers in circles where these were sharing 3G spectrum on the bases of intra-roaming pact between each other. With such a norm coming into action, these operators will be able to share each other’s spectrum.


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