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Airtel seeks policy change on spectrum swapping

Bharti Airtel has suggested second-largest telecom operator has suggested to the government that spectrum swapping should be allowed. This will enable the telcos to utilise the spectrum in a more efficient manner. Airtel said that if a telco has spectrum in a certain band lying around unused, it can potentially swap it for spectrum in another band. Based on the business requirement, Airtel said that the telcos should be allowed to swap airwaves that they are not using or don’t plan to use for airwaves that can help their business.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has never allowed the telcos to swap airwaves. This will be something new if it happens. Further, it isn’t just the telecom operators, but anyone who holds the Unified License (UL) to offer connectivity and telecom services might get the approval to do the same. Of course, a correct pricing mechanism or a model would be required in such a scenario, but it isn’t something that the government can’t enable if it wants to.

However, the government could see this as a loss of potential revenue. The telcos would eventually get more airwaves if they need it, regardless of whether swapping is allowed or not. Thus, the government might not entertain the idea suggested by Airtel. But, there’s also the case of helping the telcos deal with their liquidity issues, something they face all the time due to low returns over massive investments.

The government would need to introduce a policy change to enable this. The development was reported by ET. Telecom Talk

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