EGoM to consider spectrum refarming Thursday

EGoM to consider spectrum refarming Thursday New Delhi: The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) will on Thursday consider the recommendations of Telecom Commission on spectrum refarming, which calls for existing operators to vacate their spectrum and buy less-efficient airwaves in different band.

"The Telecom Commission today finalised its response after considering the clarifications submitted by Trai and recommendations of a Department of Telecom (DoT) committee," Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar told reporters here.

He added the response will now be placed before the EGoM Thursday. He, however, did not disclose the details.

EGoM, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, includes Defence, Telecom, I&B and Law ministers as members. Manish Tiwari and Ashwani Kumar are the new Information & Broadcasting and Law Ministers after the Sunday's Cabinet reshuffle.

Refarming recommended by TRAI calls for existing operators to give up all their spectrum in 900 MHz band when their permits come up for renewal starting November, 2014.

The operators will be given the option to buy replacement airwaves in the less efficient 1800 MHz band.

The DoT has sought clarifications from TRAI due to various factors with top reason being EGoM asking for complete analysis of various options that were presented before it on spectrum refarming.

EGoM was given three different options were put before Telecom Commission including refarming (or redistribution of airwaves held by existing players) of all airwaves held by incumbents, or allowing the operators to retain either 2.5 Mhz or 5 Mhz of airwaves frequencies in 900 Mhz band.

However, TC in last meeting on October 17 decided to refarm entire spectrum.

TC Chairman said the analysis was required in backdrop of representation made by the industry bodies and certain reference made by government departments including Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Chandrashekhar said clarifications from TRAI were required as recommendation with regard to the prescribed limit of spectrum, refarming, liberalisation of spectrum and auction had come in different points in time.

PTI