Trai rejects calls to delay auction consultation

13 Nov 2017
00:00

Indian telecoms regulator Trai has dismissed calls from major operators to postpone the consultation process for the next spectrum auction.

Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular recently both asserted in written submissions to the regulator that the timing for the consultation process is inappropriate while the telecoms sector is struggling with hypercompetition, high debts from previous auctions and ongoing industry consolidation.

But Trai chairman R S Sharma has insisted that the regulator is “duty bound” to respond to requests from the government to make recommendations on telecoms policies, the Economic Timesreported.

The government has asked Trai for recommendations on the design, pricing and other details of the auction of various bands of spectrum, meaning the regulator is required to conduct the consultation, he said.

Sharma also asserted that there is nothing wrong with holding a consultation to understand the views of stakeholders, as it will ensure transparency in the decision making.

Airtel, Idea and Vodafone India all want the auction to be delayed until India's mobile sector is more stable, with the former two operators proposing that it not be held until at least the final quarter of 2018.

But new market entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm said in its own submission that the timing of the auction should be at the discretion of the government, and called for the development of a 10-year spectrum roadmap for greater visibility.

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