TRAI has released Spectrum Sharing guidelines for Wireless Operators in India. The recommendation to not permit spectrum leasing (at this stage) should be a dampener to challengers [New Entrants like Reliance Jio Infocomm, Uninor, etc] looking to monetize their underutilized spectrum holdings.
Spectrum sharing, as recommended by the TRAI, is unlikely to help challengers meaningfully. 2G ICR arrangements anyway have been around and help the challengers share networks from a coverage standpoint. Spectrum sharing, as highlighted earlier, is a capacity enhancing measure and hence, would aid capacity-constrained incumbents at the margin
Operators can only pool their spectrum for common use, and cannot lease capacity on their networks to another player. Specifically, any Spectrum sharing between Reliance Communications and Reliance Jio Infocomm will be restricted to the 14 circles where Reliance Jio acquired 1800 MHz spectrum. However, since RCom’s spectrum in these circles was administratively assigned, such sharing would prohibit Reliance Jio from offering 4G LTE services. RCom has little to gain to offset the additional 0.5% SUC they will now incur. In addition, Reliance Jio cannot access RCom’s 800 MHz network as it does not have any 800 MHz spectrum of its own.
Mukesh Ambani will definitely be lobbying to make the next move where Spectrum Leasing Would be made possible for his Reliance Jio in the round of recommendations.