Telecom spectrum auction is unlikely to be held this fiscal year due to delay in recommendations over pricing from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), official sources said. The government had pegged revenue from communication services, which includes upfront realization from spectrum sale and license fee, at Rs 42,865.62 crore for the current fiscal year.
“The Department of Telecom needs between 120-180 days to prepare for auction after spectrum pricing recommendations are received from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India,” a Department of Telecom (DoT) official said.
The official said introduction of new guidelines like sharing and trading of spectrum along with proposal on frequency cap will also have impact on new rules which need time for deliberation after recommendations from the regulator are received. The DoT has asked TRAI to give recommendations on pricing of all telecom radio waves, including frequencies in the most-premium band of 700 Mhz as well as spectrum held by around six licenses that are expiring in 2017.
TRAI is expected to start public consultation process on spectrum pricing in the coming week. According to official sources, the regulator is likely to give its recommendations by January next year. Official sources, however, said that delay in spectrum auction this fiscal is unlikely to impact projected revenue from telecom services for this fiscal year.
DoT officials said projected revenue of Rs 42,865.62 crore from communication services for the current financial year would be achieved even without proceeds from spectrum auction. The revenue from communication services includes around Rs 18,000 crore payments from telecom operators this fiscal year for the auction that was conducted in March 2015.