Posts filed under ‘DoT’
In news that will surprise nobody the auction process for 3G spectrum in India looks set to meet with further delays. The delays are likely following the revelation that the Cabinet Committee tasked with making a decision on policies formulated by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has referred the proposals to the Group of Ministers (GoM). India’s Economic Times reports that the latest move in the policy merry-go-round could see the auction process delayed indefinitely. It has been argued that one of the additional benefits for passing the matter to the GoM, which is headed by AK Antony, is that they can open discussions with the defence forces regarding the vacating of 3G frequencies. The auctions had originally been due to take place on 16 January, but were subsequently pushed back to 30 January.
TRAI want DoT to bring in atleast two operators for 3G services in the CDMA space in opposition to the current situation which has only one 3G operator being offered a 3G spectrum. The DoT present policy guidelines which only offers a single 3G block for CDMA operators.
“The authority understands that it is perhaps possible to identify more than one carrier in the 800-MHz band. It is all the more imperative as there are more than two access service providers in this category of technology for competition. Therefore, the authority recommends DoT may explore more than one block in the 800-MHz band for CDMA 3G services,” said Trai in a communication to DoT.
Trai also proposed that the base price for CDMA operators should be 25% of that of the GSM players.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has begun the process to introduce mobile number portability (MNP), inviting bids from interested companies. The DoT has stated that it is looking for companies with previous experience in implementing MNP systems, and the submission deadline has been set as 6 February 2009. A list of pre-qualified bidders will be released on 16 February, with selected companies then asked to present their plans for rollout on 23 and 24 February. The winner will be announced on 5 March. The regulator has reiterated that the charge for the service will be decided by the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The TRAI had set a charge of between INR200 (USD4.07) and INR300 (USD6.10) in 2006, but it is understood that a new fee will be decided before the service is launched. The government had initially expected MNP to be introduced in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai by the end of 2008. If the new deadlines are met as planned it is expected that the service may be introduced within the first half of 2009.
India’s Economic Times is reporting that, in the latest of a long line of mooted changes, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is considering increasing the number of available winning lots in the upcoming 3G spectrum auctions. It had previously been agreed that each telecoms circle would allow five winning bidders, but now the regulator has announced it may increase that number to eight. If it is approved the change will not affect all calling circles due to a shortage of spectrum in some regions; only circles with more than 25MHz of spectrum available will allow more winning bidders. The move is believed to be under consideration as a means of generating increased revenues from the auction process, which the government had initially hoped would raise INR400 billion (USD8.05 billion). It is being considered as an alternative to another recent suggested change, which proposed the doubling of the auction’s base price. The proposal is expected to be sent to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) within the next few days, and will likely be considered sometime next week.
India’s Economic Times is reporting that the Department of Communications (DoT) has rejected demands by the finance ministry to increase the base price for both the upcoming 3G and WiMAX auctions. The finance ministry advocated a doubling of the reserve price earlier this week, but it is believed that the DoT has decided against the increase as it believes it could reduce interest in the auction process. The DoT has previously indicated that it has received a poorer than expected response from international companies, with the difficult economic climate cited as one factor that has dissuaded possible bidders. The regulator is also understood to have claimed that any increase in the auction’s base price could translate to higher costs for 3G services for consumers. Despite the DoT’s rejection, it is widely expected that the 3G auction will be delayed from its current date of 30 January, with the law and commerce ministries both rumoured to be considering seeking changes to the country’s 3G policy.
India’s upcoming 3G auctions look set for yet another delay, having only recently been pushed back to 30 January. The initial delay, from 15 January, came as a result of requests from potential bidders for more time to prepare for the process. The finance ministry has now recommended that the base price for the auctions be doubled from the previously agreed INR20.2 billion (USD412 million) for pan-India spectrum allocation. It is also recommending a doubling of the base price for WiMAX spectrum. Reports indicate that that the ministry has called on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to resubmit its auction proposal for reconsideration next week. The move comes as the ministry believes that more revenue could be generated from the auctions, with demand for the spectrum expected to be high, particularly in India’s main cities.
Working towards meeting the June 2009 deadline, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will shortly issue clarifications to the bidders on the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) norms, after which it will start accepting applications from the prospective firms to act as agencies for porting numbers.
The government has already held the pre-bid conference last month and is about to issue queries of the operators on the same. The bids are scheduled to be opened on February 5, said an official. The prospective bidders will act as clearing houses and database for the MNP system.
The implementation roadmap for MNP is for metros and category A circles by the middle of 2009 and in the entire country by the end of 2009.
The DoT is also likely to take a decision shortly if it is in the ambit of existing norms to allow users to shift between GSM and CDMA services of the same operator before the full-fledged MNP starts between two operators.
The intra-operator MNP is possible with two operators in the Indian context — Reliance Communications and the Tatas. While RCom has announced its pan-India GSM services recently, Tatas do have spectrum for GSM service but are yet to start the service.