The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) proposed easing spectrum holding restrictions to help improve the health of the telecoms industry, which is struggling with high debt and falling tariffs.

TRAI suggested increasing the overall spectrum ownership cap from 25 per cent to 35 per cent, The Economic Times (ET) reported. The regulator also proposed relaxing a cap preventing an operator from holding more than 50 per cent of the spectrum in a given band in a specific service area.

There are 22 such service areas (known as circles) in the country.

TRAI wants to replace the latter restriction with a cap on holding more than 50 per cent of the combined spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 900MHz bands in a single circle.

ET noted easing the limits would allow a combined Vodafone India and Idea Cellular to keep all their existing spectrum, while also enabling Reliance Jio to acquire additional spectrum in the 800MHz band.

The regulator’s suggestion will be part of a broader proposal being drafted by the Department of Telecom to find ways to improve the health of the struggling telecoms sector, ET reported.