The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released (pdf) its final recommendations on the much-awaited spectrum sharing guidelines which allows telcos to share spectrum. This is expected to help telcos increase their spectrum without participating in auctions and enable debt-ridden telcos to monetize their spectrum to reduce debt. This could also possibly result in improved service quality and lower tariffs from telcos. TRAI mentions that these recommendations were formulated after analyzing the draft guidelines submitted by the Steering committee which comprised of senior TRAI officers and representatives from all telcos. Earlier in January, TRAI had also released its final recommendations on spectrum trading guidelines, which allows telcos to buy or sell spectrum. TRAI Recommendations - Spectrum sharing will be restricted to sharing by only two licensees provided there will be at least two independent networks in the same band. Leasing of spectrum is still not permitted. - Spectrum from all categories should be sharable provided that both the licensees are having spectrum in the same band. This includes spectrum in bands of 800/900/1800/2100/ 2300/2500 MHz. This essentially means that licensees can share their 2G, 3G or 4G spectrum provided both of them have spectrum in the same band. If only one of them has spectrum in a specific band (eg 900 MHz), they cannot share spectrum in that band. Remember that spectrum sharing was previously barred in 3G spectrum, while it was allowed in 2G spectrum. It's worth noting that this recommendation is quite opposite to the recent TDSAT ruling which had allowed telcos to share spectrum irrespective of the spectrum band.…
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