The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is likely to release a discussion paper on spectrum auction this week, chairman R S Sharma said today. The consultation paper of spectrum auction and pricing is “ready” and the telecom regulator hopes to release it this week, Sharma told reporters on the sidelines of ITU-TRAI Asia Pacific Regulators Roundtable. Earlier this year, the Department of Telecom (DoT) sought Trai’s views on spectrum price for various frequencies, including premium airwaves in the 700 MHz band which remained unsold in the last auctions in October 2016.
During the last auction, the government had put airwaves worth Rs 5.66 lakh crore for sale. In the five-day auction, seven telecom companies made commitments of Rs 65,789 crore for buying 964.80 MHz of spectrum in various frequency bands. Even at the end of the auction, nearly 60 per cent of the spectrum remained unsold (in all 2,354.55 MHz was placed the block) and spectrum worth Rs 4 lakh crore in 700 Mhz band found no takers. The telecom industry has been citing its poor financial health, and falling revenue and profitability to reason that the auctions should be held late next year or early 2019.