The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released recommendations on ‘Methodology of applying Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) under the weighted average method of SUC assessment, in cases of Spectrum Sharing’.
As part of its recommendation, TRAI has suggested that the incremental spectrum usage charge (SUC) of 0.5 per cent should apply on the spectrum holding in specific band in which sharing is taking place, and not on the entire spectrum holding (all bands) of the licensee.
Further, TRAI is of the view that suitable exit clause should be included in the spectrum sharing guidelines to provide flexibility to the TSPs to manage their spectrum on need and commercial basis.
At present, shared airwaves are valid up to the balance period of the license or up to the period of the right of use spectrum, whichever is earlier, but lacks guidance on two carriers wanting to exit the arrangement prior to its validity.
TRAI had initiated a consultation process on the subject in January 2020, after having received a reference from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). In their comments to the consultation paper, telcos had urged that inter-band sharing and microwave backhaul sharing must also be allowed to gain spectral efficiency for coverage, capacity, quality and speed for users.
In addition, they had sought inclusion of shared spectrum in computing spectrum cap, permission for leasing of spectrum, and removing limitations on time period of sharing, among other issues.
TRAI, however, has said some of these issues will require a separate consultation process.