of first-right and zero-interference to defence usage. This is likely to work in 95% of the geography where defence forces have exclusive allocations but no operations. For the rest, public users will be allowed to use only if and when the spectrum is idling and without any interference to the original allottee, i.e. the defence forces. This appears to be a good beginning, but not enough.
The innovative, forward-looking approach for efficient spectrum allocation has to take the best of learnings from past, present and some out-of-the-box thinking to make it happen. One solution in this direction can be the establishment of a ‘dynamic spectrum exchange’ for dynamically allocating the spectrum chunks from ‘public switched spectrum pool (PSSP)’ to the neediest ones and temporarily withdrawing from the allottee who is not using it at the moment. This will work as a spectrum highway or a clearing-house, wherein a spectrum usage charge (SUC) will be paid based on the usage and not upfront. This process will also save the spectrum-hungry operators from the ‘winners curse’ as they will ‘pay-as-you-eat’.
To take it forward, the government needs to set up an expert group of top brains in the country from all relevant segments and come out with a white paper and action plan. Then, a proof-of-concept project needs to be created to test, with about 100 MHz spectrum, wherever idling (like digital dividend band) or some strategic spectrum at a non-strategic location far away from security forces activity centres. This can prove to be the nirvana for all our spectrum woes and misdoings and help the nation to emerge as a pioneer and a super-efficient spectrum power, and consequently a knowledge powerhouse. Everyone knows we have the capacity, only we have to give tools to the maximum numbers in our very intelligent populace.
Pradip Baijal is former chairman, Trai. Satya N Gupta is former principal advisor, Next Generation Network, Trai, and chief regulatory advisor, British Telecom