The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has sought the industry’s views of the industry on the need for interband spectrum sharing between services providers and bandwidth leasing. Additionally, it has requested suggestions on whether active and passive infrastructure sharing should be permitted across all licenses and authorizations for telecommunication services.
TRAI issued a consultation paper late Friday that permits spectrum sharing within bands, or intra-bands, between two operators.
“Stakeholders have been requesting also to permit inter-band spectrum sharing and leasing of the spectrum. The Authority considered the requests from such stakeholders, and it was observed that the requests such as permitting inter-band spectrum sharing, and leasing of spectrum etc, could involve larger issues, modalities also need to be worked out, which need to be well-examined and consulted with the stakeholders,” Trai said.
TRAI sought views on what measures should be put in place to allow inter-band spectrum sharing while deterring the misuse of licenses issued. It also asked the industry to share suggestions on the broad framework for inter-band spectrum sharing.
“Permitting inter-band spectrum sharing might also work as a facilitator in activity infrastructure sharing. On the other hand, as the number of TSPs (telecom service providers) in the wireless access services segment has reduced to four, it needs to be examined as to what could be its effect on competition and dynamics of the auction of spectrum,” Trai said.
In case, TRAI decides to permit inter-band spectrum sharing in the country, the process, associated charges, and terms & conditions will also need to be prescribed. It also needs to be examined as to whether the procedure prescribed for intra-band spectrum sharing could be made applicable to inter-band spectrum sharing or if certain changes are required.
TRAI said that spectrum sharing currently is permitted in 109 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Korea, United Kingdom and United States.
The sector regulator has requested suggestions on whether and under what conditions spectrum leasing should be allowed. It has asked industry views on matters like – roll-out obligations in case of spectrum leasing, spectrum leasing charges, if there needs to be a lock-in period after the acquisition of spectrum before spectrum can be leased, and whether DoT approval should be sought for spectrum leasing, among others.
It has also asked whether the spectrum held by an access service provider on short-term, or long-term leases be included to calculate compliance to spectrum caps.
TRAI has fixed February 10 as the last date for the comments and February 24 for the counter-comments.