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Telecom Commission asks DoT to review its stance on BSNL’s 900 MHz spectrum issue

The Telecom Commission has directed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to review its stance on taking back spectrum in the 900 MHz band from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The commission has also asked the telecom department to give its recommendations on the matter.

The Commission has however clarified that any decision concerning BSNL’s 900 MHz spectrum will have no effect on the forthcoming February 2015 auction. The government is likely to put at least 184 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band for the February 2015 auctions.

Meanwhile, BSNL is considering seeking government grant in exchange for returning spectrum in the 900 MHz band. The company is willing to return 1.2 MHz of spectrum in 900 MHz in 18 circles (barring Punjab) where its licences expire in 2015-16, which is in line with the recommendation of the Telecom regulatory Authority of India, in exchange for compensation of nearly Rs 20 billion. BSNL requires these funds to meet its additional capex and network re-engineering costs.

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