The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Wednesday released four consultation papers, on a rating framework for digital connectivity in buildings on spectrum policy, and mobile number portability (MNP).
The paper on a rating framework envisages a system where facilities like hotels, stadiums, and other structures where there is a lot of cell traffic, are rated for how good digital connectivity is, essentially incentivising them to improve the coverage of mobile signals as well as Wi-Fi. The 96 page consultation on this topic seeks specific feedback on how such appraisals should be done, and what the role of telecom operators and tower companies should be.
The second paper is on a proposal to delicense the E band (71–76 and 81–86 gigahertz) and V bands (57–64 GHz) of spectrum, essentially leaving them free for anyone to use, just as WiFi spectrum is not licensed. Microwave Access (MWA) and Microwave Backbone (MWB) Spectrum are also addressed in this consultation.
TRAI has previously deliberated on this issue, but the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) requested fresh inputs due to recent technological developments in the World Radiocommunication Conferences and other global consortiums where spectrum guidelines have evolved for high frequency bands.
In the next paper, TRAI asked whether higher frequency bands could be delicensed, again meaning they could be used without buying the airwaves in an auction. Different bands of spectrum between 116GHz and 246GHz have been proposed for delicensing. TRAI has also asked whether there are any terahertz range spectra that should be delicensed. A higher frequency in the spectrum indicates lower propagation of signals — WiFi currently uses bands at the 2.4–5GHz range in India, and higher frequencies have far less range.
The final paper suggests a tweak to the MNP regime, which allows people to change telecom operators without losing their number. SIM cards which have been replaced for any reason in the preceding ten days shouldn’t be allowed to port, TRAI suggests in the draft regulation. The DoT also suggested requiring people who port to a new telco to have their existing KYC information compared with the forms filled for their new connection, but this recommendation was not incorporated in TRAI’s draft regulation.