Telecom Department Suspends Spectrum Sharing Till Auction Concludes


New Delhi: The Department of Telecom (DoT) has ‘suspended’ spectrum sharing, trading and liberalisation activities till provisional results of the upcoming spectrum auction are declared.

“The Spectrum Trading Guidelines… would remain suspended during the time of conduct of auction i.e. from the date of issue of NIA for auction of spectrum to the date of publishing of provisional result of the auction,” the amended spectrum sharing and trading guidelines said on Wednesday.

Similarly, DoT has suspended spectrum sharing and liberalisation activity as well. The move may impact merger of Reliance Communications with Sistema Shyam Teleservices as well as RCom and Aircel to some extent.

According to the sources, this move by the government is to ensure that upcoming spectrum auction, in which airwaves worth Rs 5.63 lakh crore is being put for sale, attracts good interest from bidders.

The rounds are scheduled to start from September 29. There is no certainty when will auction end. In 2010, bidding rounds for 3G spectrum closed after 34 days.

The government expects to get around Rs 64,000 crore from the sale of airwaves this fiscal year.

However, experts feel that the upcoming auction will see moderate participation.

“This could in view of calculating spectrum cap. It would be difficult to assess if a company is bidding in the auction and simultaneously engaged in spectrum trading or sharing deal,” Khaitan & Co LLP associate partner Harsh Walia said.

ICRA expects moderate participation in the auction that fetch government bids worth around Rs 60,000-65,000 crore and elevate the industry debt level to around Rs 4.7 lakh crore from the current level of Rs 4.1 lakh crore.