Trai asks DoT to confirm EGoM direction on CDMA price

The Department of Telecom (DoT) had earlier asked Trai four times for its views on CDMA spectrum base price for auction.

PTI| Updated: Dec 15, 2013, 15:46 PM IST

New Delhi: Telecom regulator TRAI has sought confirmation from DoT whether EGoM has directed it to seek recommendations on CDMA spectrum base price for auction.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) had earlier asked Trai four times for its views on CDMA spectrum base price for auction.

The EGoM in its meeting on November 22 asked the DoT to approach TRAI afresh for CDMA spectrum base price so that it can be put for auction.

Sources said the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its response on December 13 to DoT has sought confirmation whether its recommendations related to CDMA spectrum along with DoT's view were placed before the Empowered Group of Ministers on Telecom, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram,

According to sources, TRAI said it presumed that on presentation of all facts, the EGoM has directed DoT to request regulator for recommendation on reserve price for auction of spectrum in 800 Mhz (CDMA) for all circles.

Trai has said "This may please be confirmed", according to sources.

The regulator had earlier in September recommended against auction of CDMA spectrum and suggested that the government explore if parts of these airwaves frequency could be used for a E-GSM services.

The DoT had explained to Trai that E-GSM band required vacation of spectrum by the Defence Ministry, which is likely to take time. In this scenario, keeping unsold spectrum in the 800 Mhz (CDMA) band would result in revenues foregone for the government, DoT had said.

Trai in its latest communication has asked DoT if it has examined the possibility of making alternate arrangements for the spectrum that needs to be vacated by Defence which is hampering path for E-GSM service.

Pure-play CDMA operator Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) has accused Trai of favouring GSM players who have placed this idea before the regulator.

The regulator has asked DoT to explain the rationale behind the proposal to put less quantum of CDMA airwaves for the next in auction compared to auction in March 2013.

"In the auction of March 2013, a maximum of three blocks, each of 1.25 Mhz (paired) were offered for bidding in each LSA (circle)...The rationale for putting a smaller quantum of spectrum on auction and details of the quantum of spectrum now proposed to be auctioned in all the LSAs may be provided," Trai said.

Trai has asked DoT to clarify if CDMA spectrum auctioned in March is allowed for liberal use which is allow use of any technology , not just CDMA, for providing mobile telephony.

DoT had asked Trai to recommend price of CDMA spectrum in all of the 22 licences service areas.