London: Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA, offered the following statement regarding the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations on India’s upcoming spectrum auction:

“Next year’s spectrum auction is particularly crucial for India’s mobile industry and, if handled badly, could have damaging consequences. Failure of the existing operators to retain their current spectrum, which is due to be relicensed as part of the auction process, would not only jeopardise their businesses, but threaten the continuity of the vital mobile services they provide to citizens across the country.

“Therefore, while the GSMA fully supports the auction plans announced by TRAI and, specifically, the need to make additional spectrum available prior to the auction, we respectfully suggest that the Government reconsider its approach to the treatment of India’s existing mobile operators, to ensure that users do not suffer any breaks in service.

“In particular:

  1. The next round of auctions should only be conducted once there is sufficient spectrum available for mobile in all key spectrum bands, namely 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz.
  2. We believe that the Government should accelerate the migration of non-mobile users from the 2100MHz band, in particular the defence industry, so the spectrum can be made fully available for 3G mobile communications, in line with international standards.
  3. The GSMA notes the importance of an early statement from the Department of Telecommunications regarding their timetable for the 700MHz spectrum band.

“Governments around the world are increasingly cautious of setting high reserve prices, for example, the recent auction conducted by the Brazilian government failed to secure bidders for all the bands offered.  It is widely accepted that high reserve prices do not lead to higher final auction receipts, but instead to market distortions that threaten the ability of bidders to invest in their networks. Although high auction prices may generate short term revenues for the government, in the longer term, they lead to higher tariffs and reduced coverage.

“By 2017, around 250 million of 1.1 billion of India’s mobile connections are estimated to be either 3G or 4G2. We trust that India’s new leadership will make sufficient, affordable spectrum available, to realise this forecast.  With so much at stake for India’s citizens and its economy, we cannot afford to fail.”


Notes to Editors

1 The TRAI recommendations are available here:

2 Source: GSMA Intelligence projection for Q4 2017

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries and territories, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

Media Contacts:

For the GSMA

Charlie Meredith-Hardy (London)

+44 7917 298 428

[email protected]

GSMA Press Office
[email protected]