New Delhi: After dilly-dallying for a long time, the government is likely to allow sharing of spectrum among telecom operators, a move that would help overcome the shortage of spectrum that has affected the quality of mobile services badly.
This would also help smaller operators with fewer subscribers to earn revenues by way of sharing spectrum lying vacant with them.
A high-level team will hold a crucial meeting on Monday to consider the proposal, which says, "For efficient utilisation of spectrum, spectrum sharing among the telecom service providers should be permitted."
The group constituted to draft new telecom policy will also review and analyse existing legislations relating to spectrum management and formulated a new comprehensive and integrated "Spectrum Act", which will put in place a statutory mechanism for spectrum management and licencing.
There are several operators, especially among the new service providers who got licences and 2G spectrum in 2008, that have spectrum but are yet to start/roll-out services. Sharing of spectrum would not only ease pressure on operators, but also generate additional revenues for the government by way of increasing subscribers.
According to sources in-the-know, the group will also discuss "reframing of spectrum", under which the government may ask telecom operators to surrender spectrum in the superior 900 Mhz band so that the same can be redistributed for high-end services.
Some leading service providers like Bharti and Vodafone have spectrum in this band. Spectrum in the 900 Mhz band is considered more efficient and allows operators to save huge cost due to the low requirement of infrastructure.
The industry is divided over reframing of spectrum, with old operators against it, while new operators have favoured the move.
Even telecom regulator TRAI has recommended fixing the cost of spectrum in the 900 Mhz band 1.5 times higher than for frequencies like 1800 Mhz or 800 Mhz.
"Reframing of spectrum is to be undertaken to make available additional spectrum for new and emerging telecom technologies," DoT sources said, adding that this proposal would come up for discussion and consideration Monday.