The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) which is responsible for allocating spectrum to telecom companies is finally seeking recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the sector regulator, regarding allocation of 4G spectrum to the two state-led telecom operators – Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). In return, TRAI has replied saying that it will begin the consultation process soon. To recall, the two government-led telecom operators are the only ones which have been left behind in the industry after the private telecom operators for launching the fourth generation network which has also become the reason for the widening losses for the government. With the 4G spectrum allocation months away, things might change for these companies.
TRAI to Make Recommendations on 4G Airwaves
TRAI chairman RS Sharma said, “We have received reference a couple of days back on 4G spectrum allocation to BSNL and MTNL. We will issue a consultation paper and hold open house discussion on it soon.” Up till now, the industry regulator had not received any formal regulation from the department regarding the allocation of 4G spectrum to these two state-owned telcos. Back in February, the telecom department had said that it had sought suggestions from TRAI so that it could move towards the process of allocating the desired 4G spectrum to the government led telcos which had been devoid of the same from quite a long time now.
After the government’s request, the regulator will come up with its recommendation on the administrative allocation of the 4G spectrum along with quantum, price and appropriate frequency range for the public-sector companies. The two companies have asked the government to allocate the spectrum to them via the equity way. BSNL CMD, Anupam Shrivastava said in this regard, “We expect TRAI to soon come out with its recommendations based on its well-established extensive consultation process.”
Revival Strategy of BSNL and MTNL to be Based on 4G Network
BSNL, which has operations across the country has sought the 2100 MHz spectrum pan-India except in Rajasthan for 4G network, whereas MTNL has asked for airwaves in the 1800 MHz band in Delhi and airwaves in 2100 MHz in Mumbai.
There is no doubt about the fact that both BSNL and MTNL deem the allocation of 4G airwaves as extremely critical for their revival as both of these companies have been under reeling losses ever since the private telecom operator led by Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Jio stepped into the playing field with its cheap data tariff. The acquisition of the airwaves in the 4G bands will help these government-led telcos in introducing high-speed data services to the users which will be a big comeback for these companies.