Guidelines on Spectrum Sharing: Outline

Guidelines on Spectrum Sharing: Outline

Question: TRAI has recently recommended guidelines in spectrum sharing which have received the approval of the Union Cabinet. Provide an outline of the guidelines.

Meeting the commitment for enhancing spectral efficiency and service quality, Union Cabinet gave approval to TRAI recommendations/guidelines on spectrum sharing

- Spectrum sharing is only allowed for access service providers in the first place in Licensed Service Area, where licensees will have spectrum in the same band

- Leasing of spectrum will not be allowed; Spectrum Usage Charges will be such that licensees will consider sharing their entire spectrum holding in a particular band in the complete LSA

- All access spectrum including traded spectrum can be shared provided both licensees are having spectrum within the same band

- Right for sharing spectrum will be subjected to fulfilling relevant license conditions and any conditions specified by licensor/GoI on a periodic basis

Spectrum sharing will not be allowed for licensees except in the following scenarios:

- When both sharing entities have spectrum for which market price has been paid with clarification in regard to spectrum in 800 MZ acquired in March 2013 auctions price on pro rata basis on the balance period of right to use spectrum being paid

- In case of administratively allowed spectrum for both sharing entities

- Cases where one sharing entity has acquired spectrum via auction or liberalised spectrum and the other has spectrum allotted administratively such that sharing will only be permitted after spectrum charges for liberalisation of the spectrum administratively allocated are paid

- Technology use should be influenced by terms and conditions of respective notice inviting application license

- Licensees will be individually as well as jointly responsible for complying with sharing guidelines and this includes interference norms

- Sharing of spectrum will be restricted to sharing by only 2 licensees subject to the condition that around two independent networks will be provided within the same band

- SUC or spectrum usage charges of licensees during the post sharing period will increase by 0.5 percent of Aggregate Gross Revenue

- Prescribed limits for spectrum cap shall be applied individually for both licensees and spectrum holding of any licensee post sharing will be counted after addition of 50 percent of the spectrum held by the other licensee in the shared band, being extra spectrum as against original spectrum held by licensee in the band

- Based on ease of doing business, Cabinet also made the decision that both licensees sharing the spectrum will unitedly provide prior intimation for sharing the right to use spectrum atlas 45 days prior to respective effective date of sharing

- Licensees should also offer the undertaking that they are in compliance with terms and conditions of the guidelines regarding spectrum sharing and in case either licensee was not in conformity with terms and conditions, government will take action

- Processing fee of INR 50,000 will be charged for each licensee; it may be modified from time to time

Facts and Stats

- In most nations, Governments have made decisions regarding the procedure for the allocation of spectrum

- Telecom sector is a capital intensive sector so such assignments are made for a long period

- From 2010 onwards, spectrum sharing in India has been through auction process

- During the past 2 decades, some operators have been able to acquire subscribers and rise at a massive rate as against other operators

- Some of the spectrum is lying unused with the players

- In rural areas, spectrum needs may be determined by customer profile

- In November 2012, Government approved the principle of sharing the spectrum but the policy could not be implemented
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