TRAI releases Recommendations on ‘Telecommunication Infrastructure Sharing, Spectrum Sharing, and Spectrum Leasing’

TRAI has finalized the Recommendations on ‘Telecommunication Infrastructure Sharing, Spectrum Sharing, and Spectrum Leasing’. The salient features of the recommendations are as follows:

  1. Telecommunication service licensees should be allowed to share the passive infrastructure such as building, tower, electrical equipment including battery and power plant, dark fiber, duct space, Right of Way, etc. owned, established, and operated by them under the respective licenses with all types of telecommunication service licensees.
  2. Telecommunication service licensees should be allowed to share all types of active infrastructure elements owned, established, and operated by them under respective licenses with all types of telecommunication service licensees as per the scope of their services.
  3. In the future projects of Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (or Digital Bharat Nidhi under the Telecommunications Act, 2023), DoT should include a provision in the agreement with the Universal Service Provider (USP) that the USP shall not refuse to share the passive infrastructure laid under the project to at least two other telecom service providers on a transparent and non-discriminatory basis.
  4. In the already assigned projects of USOF, DoT should explore the feasibility of issuing instructions to such USPs that the USP shall not refuse to share the passive infrastructure laid under the project with at least two other telecom service providers on a transparent and non-discriminatory basis.
  5. In the interest of consumers, a telecom service provider, which has built mobile network infrastructure in the remote and far-flung areas of the country with full or partial funding from the Government under USOF (or Digital Bharat Nidhi), should be mandated to allow roaming to other
  6. TSPs on its network in such remote and far-flung areas initially for a period of three years. Inter-band access spectrum sharing between access service providers [which may be implemented either by way of pooling of access spectrum held by the participating access providers in different frequency bands through common radio access networks, or by way of allowing the partnering access service providers to use the radio access networks of each other operating in the shared frequency band(s)] in an LSA should be permitted.
  7. The DoT should explore the possibility of implementing authorized shared access (ASA) technique based spectrum sharing in India, under which, the spectrum assigned to Government agencies or other entities (non-TSPs) in the globally harmonized spectrum bands for IMT services, can be assigned to access service providers as secondary users.
  8. A field trial of ASA technique-based spectrum sharing between the willing access service providers should be conducted under the supervision of DoT.
  9. The leasing of access spectrum should be permitted among access service providers.
  10. Through these recommendations, the TRAI has also provided the essential terms and conditions for the implementation of the above recommendations.

At present only spectrum trading and intra-band spectrum sharing are permitted in the country. For a more efficient utilization of the scarce spectrum, the TRAI has recommended that spectrum leasing and inter-band spectrum sharing should also be permitted. Implementation of these recommendations will enable telecom service providers to provide better quality of service and wider coverage of telecommunication services. Further, the recommendations for exploring the possibility of implementing authorized shared access (ASA) technique-based spectrum sharing are aimed at further strengthening the efficient and effective utilization of the scarce resource.

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