Broadcasters are probably not very pleased: as per the draft recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to the Indian government, no broadcasting company or group of broadcasting companies should be allowed to hold more than 20 percent stake in mobile TV operators, or vice versa. Additionally, to prevent cross holding, no entity or person (other than a financial institution) can hold more than 20 percent in both. This, however, doesn’t apply to holdings between a mobile television licensee and a DTH/HITS licensee/MSO/Cable Operator. So DTH operators like TATA Sky and Dish TV, which are both entities with broadcaster holdings, can launch mobile TV services. I think it’s important to note that the TRAI essentially views Mobile TV as a carriage service, and not a broadcast service.
Mobile operators have it easier – it’s recommended that they be allowed to offer Mobile TV services using their existing networks, and the Universal Access Service Licenses (UASL) and Cellular Mobile Telephone Service (CMTS) licenses be amended to that end. If, however, they choose to take the broadcast route to mobile TV, they’ll have to bid for Mobile TV licenses with the rest of applicants. In line with the mobile operator Foreign Direct Investment limit, the Mobile TV operator FDI limit has been expectedly set at 74 percent.
Spectrum And Infrastructure
Apart from Doordarshan, private operators may be assigned at least 1 slot of 8 MHz each, allocated automatically to successful bidders. Most importantly, the TRAI has recommended the sharing of infrastructure – both that of Doordarshan (DD) and in case any private operator that sets up its own. Let’s see how Prasar Bharti, of which DD is a part, will go ahead with this.
Licenses should be for 10 years, granted through a Closed Tender System. There’ll be a one time entry fees, with the Reserve One Time Entry Fee set at 50 percent of the highest bid for an area. There’s also a license fee of 6 percent of Gross Revenue for each year or 10% of the Reserve One Time Entry Fee limit (whichever is higher), payable every every quarter. The TRAI has suggested the creation of two separate mobile TV licenses – for terrestrial and satellite broadcasting. To ensure competition, applicants they may bid for both types, but will have to choose one.
More in the extended text
The licensing area for Terrestrial is a state, or a combination of small states. Applicants will need to have a net worth of at least Rs. 3 Crores per service area; spectrum will be allocated to them in the UHF Band V (from 585 MHz