Government of India Schedules Spectrum Auctions
The Government of India (GOI) is going to auction 184MHz of spectrum in 900MHz band through the Department of Telecom(DOT). The auction will be done as 29 licences will be up for renewal in 18 telecom zones in 2015-16.
The spectrum GOI intends to auction is mostly used for 3G services. The auction will be for the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz. Based on the memorandum of understanding between DOT and the Defense Ministry, the Defense Ministry will vacate about 25 MHz in the 2100MHz spectrum. Out of the agreed upon 25 MHz, the Defense ministry has already vacated 20 MHz.
DoT is also planning to sell spectrum in the 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands to be used for LTE (4G) services. In 2010, the government had auctioned 2300 MHz spectrum to the operators such as Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Tikona for long-term evolution (LTE) services. But now they are at freedom to use the spectrum to their discretion as they are not bound to the technology.
The government has 104 MHz of spectrum on it for auctioning. This will include the 26 MHz of spectrum freed after license renewals from Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India. Along with these the 78 MHz of spectrum which was left unsold in February will be up for auction.
The spectrum base prices will be set by TRAI for the 900 and 1800 MHZ spectrum. In the previous auction, the Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata circles were sold for double the base price, earning the government 610 billion Rupees.
This auction will give the companies a chance to expand their spectrum thereby expanding services like better 3G and 4G connection. But the heavy cost of the auction will definitely percolate down to the consumers. We have to wait and see if more spectrums mean better services from the companies or just higher phone bills.