India may loosen spectrum cap rules

16 Nov 2015
00:00
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India's Telecom Commission is considering a proposal to loosen restrictions on the maximum spectrum that can be assigned to any one operator.

The inter-ministerial panel has agreed in principle with a recommendation from telecom regulator Trai to change how the maximum cap is formulated, the Economic Times reported.

At present the spectrum cap amounts to 50% of a spectrum band assigned for mobile use in a particular telecom circle, as well as 25% of the total spectrum assigned in a telecom circle.

But Trai has proposed to count unallocated spectrum when determining these limits, which would allow incumbent operators to increase their spectrum holdings.

This could help address the current controversy over call drops and network congestion, while allowing operators to more effectively meet market demands and encouraging sorely-needed market consolidation.

For example, the report states that Bharti Airtel could use the changes to acquire an additional 5 MHz of 1800-MHz or 2100-MHz spectrum in Delhi.

This would help the nation's largest mobile operator to augment its nascent 4G operations and more effectively compete with disruptive newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm.

The changes would also facilitate spectrum trading, in line with the new rules allowing for this activity.

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