oppn parties Spectrum release good for telecommunications

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  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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Spectrum release good for telecommunications

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The government has done well to get 15 MHz of spectrum in the 2100 MHz band released from the defence ministry for the department of telecommunications (DoT). This will give a huge boost to the commercial telecommunications in the country and would benefit a large number of telcos whose licenses are nearing expiry.

But there is a catch in the ensuing bidding coming up in February. If the government chooses to retain some of the released spectrum and puts up only, say, 10 MHz for bidding, it will result in panic bidding by companies whose licenses are about to expire. This would result in prices going up unnaturally. It would also result in the companies paying huge sums to the government just to stay in business. How then will they develop other infrastructure necessary for smooth operations will remain a big question mark.

There are two things that the government must do to ensure further rapid growth of telecommunications in the country. First, it should put up all the 15 MHz for competitive bidding. Second, it should keep the reserve price low. By low it does not mean that the companies should be given the spectrum at throwaway prices. But the government should think of maximizing its revenue throughout the licence period rather than charge a huge entry fee. It should strike a balance between the entry charge and yearly charge and should let the companies invest in infrastructure the amount they can save by getting the spectrum at a lower price.

The DoT can now go in for developing the telecommunications for the defence ministry in exchange for releasing of more spectrums. If the defence ministry is satisfied that it needs will be met, it will not be averse to releasing unused spectrum in 2100 Mhz and 1900 MHz bands. These can them be exploited for further telecom development.

It is difficult to imagine how the future scenario will develop, but it is good that this spectrum release has taken place. All that is needed now is a wise approach to the bidding process.