What is the rational behind allowing cross-technology to telecom operators?
Technology neutrality is one of the basic principles adopted in our country. The licensing policy and TRAI regulations generally follow this principle. The service providers choose a particular technology as per their own business decision. The developments in various technologies are not controlled by the service providers. It is possible that the service providers may like to switch over from one technology to another. The policies and regulations should not inhibit technological innovations or come in the way of technological developments. Rather, the policies and regulations should always permit technological innovations and their implementation. At the same time, such a policy or regulation should also ensure that there is a level-playing field in the sector.
Why did you increase the subscriber base criteria for allocating spectrum?
We have worked in a very scientific manner. TRAI has addressed the issues of efficient usage -- particularly technical in nature -- transparency, predictability and revision in subscriber-based criteria. The licensees are already going for state-of-the-art spectrally efficient technologies and installing BTSs for better coverage and serving more customers than the prevailing norms. On the engineering side, those assumptions were taken that are practiced internationally. Also, theoretical simulations done on the basis of data gathered from the associations and vendors during the consultations process helped to arrive at the subscriber norms, which could be served with different spectrum amount.
For 3G services you have suggested that the spectrum be auctioned? What is the rational behind this?
TRAI prefers market mechanism for spectrum allocation. Accordingly, it recommended auction of spectrum for 3G services in 2.1 GHz band and also in other bands. It also recommended a module of 5 MHz per operator in the auction model. This was to maximize availability of scarce resource to highest number of licensees.
Do you think auctioning will increase prices?