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Indian DoT reconsidering its stance on spectrum sharing

mobile spectrum

The Indian Department of Telecommunications (DoT) may prevent operators from sharing spectrum due to concerns that proceeds from the country’s upcoming spectrum auctions will fall short of targets.

A leading Indian newspaper quoted unnamed DoT officials expressing concerns that spectrum sharing could result in ‘cartelisation’ among operators, as well as claiming that the government is “trying to understand the practices in other countries and see whether we need to allow sharing of spectrum at all”.

However, consultancy firm Ernst & Young was quick to decry the ban on spectrum sharing, with partner Prashant Singhal claiming that it would drive up spectrum prices as well as create inefficiencies.

“Increasingly, operators are focusing their energies on certain target circles and in the remaining circles they can easily offer excess spectrum to another operator if sharing is permitted,” he noted.

His is not the only dissenting voice – none other than the country’s regulator TRAI has endorsed spectrum sharing as a means of improving efficiency, in news that will be welcomed by India’s operators.

The DoT’s stance is something of a u-turn; under previous proposals, operators would have been able to share a capped amount of spectrum in exchange for a fee paid to the government. This would have been far more cost-effective for operators, but the measure seems to have been dropped by the DoT.

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